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See Inside Scientific American Volume 308, Issue 1

Will High Tech Cool a Hot Earth?

Solar engineering and other exceptionally ambitious new technologies to deal with the reality of rising global temperatures come riddled with uncertainties. To illustrate how complex the problem is and what kind of challenges lie ahead, here are three contrasting, and somewhat fantastical, scenarios

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The Science Of The Next 150 Years: 100 Years in the Future

The End of Nature: During the long economic boom ignited by the robotics revolution of the 2020s, the population became ever more concentrated in wealthy megacities, and vat-grown genetically modified foods became the norm. Most people lost any meaningful connection to nature: Who needs the real thing when you have a computer-generated sensory facsimile, complete with designer drugs to complete the experience? Interest in wild animals and outdoor activities were for purists—the kind of people who still opted for “flesh sex.” Among the perfumed, synthetic orchids of urban parks, the environmental movement of the mid-20th century seemed like an atavistic longing for the primitive. Carbon emissions soared.

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