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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.

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Time For Geoengineering?

Time For Geoengineering?

 

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

 

Could now be the time to reconsider geoengineering as a 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 approaches and different  technologies: seeding the open ocean with powdered iron to stimulate marine algae to absorb more carbon dioxide (CO2); spraying aerosols into the upper atmosphere to induce more cloud cover; capturing and sequestering CO2 from industrial plants and pumping it 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 any functioning scale and all carry risks. However, the rate impacts are increasing from atmopsheric warming is already being felt today, not in mid-century as predicted by the original climate change modelers. David Keith, a professor of applied physics at Harvard University, has been a proponent of using geoengineering for more than a decade. His ideas are now receiving wider attention.

Sometime risks out-weight rewards while other times that is reversed. If a decision is to proceed, then the issue becomes: Is now the time? Who makes the decision? Who will pay? WHB

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