Utter the word "geoengineering" in Washington, and you used to get a few smirks. The idea of toying with the weather through seemingly crazy schemes like deflecting sunlight away from Earth or sucking carbon dioxide from the air seemed a little bananas. But with climate legislation on the back burner and foreign officials beginning to show interest in geoengineering as a way to slow global warming, those unorthodox ideas are getting a serious look, and winning a following among climate-conscious policymakers.
Rep. Bart Gordon's House Science and Technology Committee will release a report on it in tandem with the British House of Commons this month, and the Government Accountability Office and a bipartisan task force of experts will release written recommendations in the near future—but most agree it's a last resort. Researchers believe solar radiation management, reflecting sunlight back into the sky, would be relatively easy to accomplish, but doesn't address the causes of climate change. Carbon dioxide removal could do just that, but is a more difficult and expensive endeavor, reports the New York Times.
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