We Can Engineer Away Climate Change

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2009 12:31 PM CDT
The Vishnu Temple rock formation stands under a cloudy sky June 10, 2009 in the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – It’s drastic and potentially dangerous, but we absolutely must research geoengineering as a potential fix for climate change, writes Samuel Thernstrom in the Washington Post. Many climate scientists believe that attempts to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions are too little, too late. But preliminary evidence shows that geoengineering could work “quickly, effectively and affordably, three attributes no other climate policy can claim.”

When Mount Pinatubo erupted, it cooled the planet for at least 2 years. We could reproduce that effect by injecting ultra-fine sulfur particles into the upper atmosphere. Or we could increase the reflective power of low-altitude stratocumuli clouds by spraying a fine mist of seawater into the air. Such methods may be controversial, or dangerous, but researching the possibilities shouldn’t be. They might be our only hope.