Solar geoengineering and high-risk methods to modulate the sun’s impact on global warming.
Solar geoengineering is the name given to a controversial branch of science that studies how to cool the planet safely and is gaining ground among the scientific community. The controversy stems from the fact that, while there is the possibility that the implementation of theoretical research of solar geoengineering could destroy entire ecosystems, on the other researchers fear that inaction will also cause a catastrophic loss of life .
In short, it is a desperate and reckless idea, some scientists do not recommend its use but according to others we cannot do without it. The idea behind solar geoengineering is essentially to scatter highly reflective particles of a material, such as sulfur, into the stratosphere to deflect sunlight and thus cool the planet.
“It’s hyperbolic to say, but no less true: when you start reflecting light away from the planet, you can easily imagine a chain of events that would extinguish life on Earth. There is only one reason to consider using a system that has even the slightest chance of causing such a catastrophe: if the risks of not using it were clearly higher”.
David Keith, a Harvard professor of engineering and public policy and one of geoengineering’s staunchest advocates, told The New Yorker. No one is yet ready to undertake such a project in practice, but researchers are moving in this direction. To offer guidance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has developed a set of global warming scenarios. The most optimistic estimate predicts that by the end of the century, the average temperature of the Earth will rise between 1.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius. A more pessimistic projection foresees an increase between 2.4 and 6.4 degrees, the highest increase so far ever recorded in the history of the planet. The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, has been adopted by 196 countries,
The constant warming of the sun causes climate change on a global scale every day and, even if in small and measurable increments, the change is constant . The technology to mitigate the effects of the sun on Earth exists, but such a drastic step has unknown but potentially catastrophic consequences.
In October, the White House announced support for solar geoengineering research. The hope is that a serious study could lessen the side effects , making it something more manageable. Strange as it may sound, a potential last-ditch effort to save the planet.
While even those studying solar geoengineering agree that it’s a pretty unhealthy idea, current efforts aren’t producing results fast enough.
- The climate fixers. (newyorker.com)