Battling Mother Nature: Climate engineering
Thursday, August 13, 2009 - 16:33
Global warming? Ha! Let's put a giant fan over Earth's atmosphere and create global cooling. Hmm ... not quite, but who says climate engineering won't do the trick? Climate engineering, formally known as geoengineering, aims to revive the spirit of science fiction authors and cool the planet with sun blocking-particles or shades to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Currently, proposals to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere involve planting trees and chemically absorbing the gas. But climate engineering involves possibly reflecting solar energy back into space to decrease greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
Although climate engineering seems very promising, most critics have deemed it idealistic and irrational to adjust Earth's thermostat. Nevertheless, in a recent New York Times article, critics are calling for more research into climate engineering in response to President Obama's decree last month that the planet's average temperature shall not rise more than two degrees Fahrenheit above today's level. Since this branch of science is highly theoretical, political leaders have not provided enough support for further research into this field. Currently, scientists have mostly suggested releasing aerosols into the stratosphere to cool temperatures.
Personally, I think that climate engineering is something like pioneering space exploration a few decades ago. It is a very underdeveloped, theoretical field that isn't perhaps necessary for protecting Earth and improving the quality of life for humans. However, if the global warming crisis continues to be exacerbated, then desperate times call for desperate measures. Hopefully, by taking environmental precautions we won't actually need to carry out the drastic actions that climate engineering would require. Nevertheless, it would be beneficial to futher explore this field in case we ever need it to sustain life and prosperity on Earth.
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