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Geo Engineering

Essay by   •  April 21, 2011  •  Essay  •  358 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,113 Views

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The concept of geoengineering has been around for close to a decade. Every time geoengineering is brought to the table, it is dismissed as taboo or too science-fictional. Well, amidst the growing urgency to stop or reduce global warming, some concepts that were introduced years ago are being re-evaluated. Geoengineering seems like a valid enough concept to become our planet’s last resort to stopping global warming. Various analyses have been done to determine if geoengineering would be effective. “A study published in Science describes one such analysis, using computer modeling to investigate various scenarios; according to the study, human efforts to inject heat-reflecting material into the upper atmosphere (mimicking the effects of major volcanic eruptions) might represent a viable option for cooling the Earth.”

Global warming is an indisputable problem that our planet faces. For many scientists, focused as they are on the long-term consequences of global warming, prompt and decisive government action to cut fossil fuel use seems like an obvious step, a no-brainer. But there are economic costs to such actions.. The net result is that not much has been done to limit fossil fuel use or other human actions that contribute to global warming.

Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen has been researching ways to lower the emission of green house gases. He has become an advocate for the study of geoengineering and he argues that, “while it was definitely not the best solution, scientists should explore the usefulness of artificially enhancing earth's albedo and thereby cooling climate by adding sunlight-reflecting aerosol in the stratosphere. Balloons or artillery guns might be used to carry material into the stratosphere to achieve this increase in albedo.”

One reason that people might be weary to accept geoengineering, is that global warming to some people seems like a fable about the dangers of humanity interfering with the natural order of things; and people with that mindset would most definitely contend that the solution to our problem doesn’t lie in an even more massive and high-tech human interference. Who knows? If this planet’s thirst for fossil fuel is never quenched, we might not have a choice whether we want to employ geoengineering or not.



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