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“”Anyone who says that geoengineering offers a policy solution to climate change is decades ahead of the science... and that's not a safe place to be.
Geo-engineering is the idea that, rather than deal with the insane amounts of pollution we are spewing into the air, people can just engineer a solution (which usually involves spewing other kinds of pollution) to solve global warming.
In August 2009 the Institute of Mechanical Engineers called for a ten million pound government project to investigate potential geo-engineering technologies. In September of that year New Scientist printed an opinion piece "Geoengineering is no longer unmentionable." It's interesting to note that the price-tag attached to some geo-engineering proposals lies within the range of eccentric millionaires, rather than world governments.
Geoengineering proposals range from ideas that could be feasible some day to "ideas" that wouldn't pass muster with the craziest Bond villain. While some use of geo-engineering may be necessary (and even then, we should study it further to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks), claims by some that it will suddenly end the problem of climate change altogether are simply science woo; the environmental equivalent of snake oil. According to a recent study released in 2013, starting geo-engineering and then stopping could also "dangerously accelerate climate change."
- Create "solar dimming" to off-set climate change by either putting large amounts of sulfurous compounds into the atmosphere, or else a space-based mirror system to reflect the sun. Of course, this would also reduce the amount of evaporation in the oceans, causing a massive reduction in precipitation that would turn many fertile land areas into deserts. And if sulfurous compounds were used, then the little precipitation that did fall would likely be sulfuric.
- Dumping iron into the oceans to create a plankton bloom, in order to remove CO2 from the air, possibly causing a red tide that would kill a substantial amount of submarine life in the process.
- Suck CO2 out of the air using synthetic trees.
- Geo-engineering in vogue..., Real Climate
- Report on Climate Engineering by the Government Accountability Office
- Congressional Research Service. Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy, Kelci Bracmort and Richard K. Lattanzio. January 2, 2013.
- J.C. Moore, S. Jevrejeva, and A. Grinsted. Efficacy of geoengineering to limit 21st century sea-level rise. PNAS, September 7, 2010, vol. 107, no. 36, 15699–15703
- Alan Robock. 20 reasons why geoengineering may be a bad idea. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 64, No. 2, p. 14-18, 59. (Further discussion in the Bulletin: Has the time come for geoengineering?)
- Tom Wigley. A Combined Mitigation/Geoengineering Approach to Climate Stabilization. Science, 20 October 2006: Vol. 314 no. 5798 pp. 452-454
- Hacking Earth Against Warming, Scientists Favor Fake Volcanoes, Popular Mechanics
- Fake trees, algae tubes and white roofs among UK engineers' climate solutions, The Guardian
- Geoengineering is no longer unmentionable, New Scientist (requires subscription to view the full article)
- Starting, Then Stopping Geoengineering Could Dangerously Accelerate Climate Change, Scientific American
- The Darkening Earth, Scientific American
- Paul J. Crutzen. Albedo Enhancement by Stratospheric Sulfur Injections: A Contribution to Resolve a Policy Dilemma? Climatic Change, Volume 77, Numbers 3-4, 211-220
- Synthetic trees could purify air, BBC