The Economist Discovers Geo-engineering


The Economist magazine looks at geo-engineering: the the magic technical fix that will solve global warming. As they note, the idea has been around for ages; a 1965 report "nonchalantly proposed dealing with the results by dumping vast quantities of reflective particles into the oceans, to increase the amount of sunlight reflected into space." Other more recent ideas (oft discussed in TreeHugger) include "seeding the skies with compounds to encourage the formation of low-lying, cooling clouds; building a giant sun-shade in space; and dumping iron in the oceans to encourage the growth of algae that would take in carbon when alive and trap it in on the sea floor when dead." and "the most promising idea may be to spray tiny sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere, where they will reflect incoming sunlight. Nature has already done the proof-of-concept work: volcanic eruptions spew such particles into the air, and the cooling effect is well documented." They do come to the appropriate conclusion: "You can look at climate change as an experiment which mankind has―to its horror―found itself performing on the planet. To start a second experiment, in the hopes of counteracting the first, would be, to put it mildly, rather risky." ::Economist and see earlier ::Worldchanging and ::New York Times