Image courtesy of B. Matthews
In a worrying sign that scientists may be slowly succumbing to the siren song of geo-engineering, a panel of top climate researchers cautiously endorsed a proposal to fund more research looking into unorthodox ways to stop global warming. While no formal statement was released, Phil Rasch, a modeler with Boulder's University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and a member of the panel, spoke for the great majority of his colleagues when he stated: "We're not saying that there should be geoengineering, we're saying there should be research regarding geoengineering."
Even once vehement opponents of such schemes - the best-known of which would consist of pumping aerosols into the stratosphere to mimic a volcano's cooling effect - said that they were slowly warming to the idea. In light of the gravity of current conditions, Daniel Schrag of Harvard University and David Keith of the University of Calgary argued that the controversial field deserved further scrutiny. Claiming that countries would inevitably turn to such strategies once conditions depreciated enough, Schrag suggested that more research now would prevent the most drastic potential consequences from occurring. "We're going to be doing this if we're afraid of something really bad happening, like the Greenland ice sheet collapsing," he explained.
Raymond Pierrehumberg, a contributor to RealClimate, called for a 10-year moratorium on any geo-engineering plan, cautioning his colleagues that further research should only serve as a supplement to efforts aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions. Let's hope cooler heads prevail.
Via ::ScienceNOW: Giving Climate Change a Kick (news website)