Sep 1, 2009 | 28
Do you really want to start messing with the atmosphere? If not, then stop emitting so much CO2. Or so argues the U.K.-based Royal Society, the same people who brought you Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking. A new report by the Society analyzes so-called geoengineering—"the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment," or consciously tweaking Earth's climate in an attempt to stave off global warming—and finds that it is feasible and worth studying carefully, but probably not something we want to get involved in.
Artificial volcanoes, mirrors in space or other climate-altering schemes might be the last, best hope for mankind if we don't get started reducing greenhouse gas emissions pronto—specifically a 50 percent reduction (at minimum) in global emissions from 1990 levels by mid-century, according to a 12-member panel convened by the Society. "Geoengineering and its consequences are the price we may have to pay for failure to act on climate change," said report chair and climate modeler John Shepherd of the University of Southampton in a prepared statement. "Used irresponsibly or without regard for possible side effects, geoengineering could have catastrophic consequences similar to those of climate change itself."
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