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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

Is It Time For Geoengineering?

Is It Time For Geoengineering?

 

David Keith, Paulson School of Engineering (credit: Harvard Universe)

 

Is it time to reconsider using geoengineering as a potential tool to reduce the risk of run-away climate change? Some people think so. 

Geoengineering is defined as the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change. The field includes a variety of unproven technologies can take many forms: seeding the open ocean with powdered iron to stimulate photosynthetic algae to absorb more CO2; spraying aerosols in the upper atmosphere to create more cloud cover; capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from industrial plants to bury deep underground; and a SciFi concept to construct giant sun screens in space to reduce incoming solar radiation.

Few geoengineering trials have been properly tested at an operational scale and all carry risks. However, the rate of impacts from increasing CO2 in the atmospheric are already being felt today, not in mid-century as had been predicted by the climate modelers. David Keith, a professor of applied physics at Harvard University, has been a proponent of using geoengineering for more than a decade but now he is receiving more attention for his ideas stated during an early TED presentation.

Sometime risks out-weight rewards while other times it is reversed. Then the issue becomes: Is it time? Who decides? Who pays? WHB

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