more research on seeding oceans and space mirrors is needed

GEOENGINEERING IDEAS have been around for decades. Few such ideas have pro­gressed past the thought ex­per­i­ment stage, due in part to con­cerns that the cure could be worse than the dis­ease. But as dire warn­ings about cli­mate change’s im­pacts in­creas­ingly dom­i­nate the news, geo­engi­neering may once again be get­ting a closer look. 

De­mo­c­ratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date An­drew Yang pro­poses funding large-scale gov­ern­ment re­search into mas­sive cli­mate in­ter­ven­tion projects such as giant solar radiation-reflecting space mir­rors or seeding the ocean with iron to pro­mote blooms of carbon-sequestering algae.

Not everyone is sure this is a good idea. When it comes to ocean seeding, for ex­ample, “there is con­sid­er­able un­cer­tainty and dis­agree­ment … whether this would do more harm than good,” says David Karl, an oceanog­ra­pher at the Uni­ver­sity of Hawaii at Manoa. 

Many sci­en­tists agree that the cli­mate crisis is so se­vere at this point that geo­engi­neering should at least be on the table, al­beit with caveats. 

Ocean seeding, or iron fer­til­iza­tion, is un­usual among geo­engi­neering projects: Un­like most geo­engi­neering pro­posals, ocean seeding has ac­tu­ally been tried in the real world. But the ex­per­i­ments also prompted a pow­erful re­sponse from en­vi­ron­mental groups, ef­fec­tively halting follow-up ocean seeding ex­per­i­ments.

Un­prece­dented risks posed by cli­mate change over the next few decades may re­quire a will­ing­ness to at least con­sider even seem­ingly ab­surd geo­engi­neering ideas.

The above was taken (and lib­er­ally edited) from the ar­ticle “In a Cli­mate Crisis, Is Geo­engi­neering Worth the Risks?” by Car­olyn Gram­ling for Sci­ence News (Oc­tober 6, 2019).

To read the en­tire ar­ticle, click HERE.

 

Many sci­en­tists agree that the cli­mate crisis is so se­vere at this point that geo­engi­neering should at least be on the table, al­beit with caveats. Click To Tweet

 

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