Could solar geoengineering counter global warming? | The Economist

Could solar geoengineering counter global warming? | The Economist


This was one of the biggest volcanic explosions in history
Daybreak and Mount Pinatubo bursts angrily into life again
It happened on June 15th 1991…
…in the north-west of the Philippines
It was so powerful…
…it produced a gas cloud that reached the stratosphere
The explosion caused a lot of damage locally…
…but the cloud itself did something extraordinary…
…it lowered the Earth’s temperature for four years
Sulphur dioxide in the cloud created particles…
…which spread around the Earth
These then reflected some of the sun’s rays into space
Scientists are looking to mimic the effects of this phenomenon…
…to counter global warming
It’s a highly controversial concept…
…known as solar geoengineering
Climate change is probably the biggest problem…
…humanity faces today
In the past 25 years…
…the global average temperature has risen by 0.5°C
The accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere is warming the Earth up…
…making more intense hurricanes, rains, higher temperatures
So far governments have focused on policies for cutting emissions…
…but they keep rising
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere…
…has risen 15% since 1994
The Paris agreement, signed by 175 parties in 2016…
…was a sign that countries were willing to work together…
…to cut emissions
But not every world leader is on board
The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of…
…Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages…
…the United States
If emissions aren’t reduced, what next?
Theoretically solar geoengineering could cool the entire planet
It’s actually potentially incredibly simple because…
…all you need to do is inject a bunch of particles into the stratosphere…
…and there’s a number of ways you could do that
Recently a study out of Yale and Harvard…
…looked at the details of how this would be done
In that Harvard and Yale study…
…they imagined building a fleet of planes…
…up to 95 of them…
…that would make 60,000 flights a year
The fleet would spread hundreds of thousands of tonnes…
…of sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere every year
After 15 years…
…they reckon the world would cool by 0.3°C
But there are reasons not to do this
One of the biggest concerns…
…is that it could make governments complacent
The big worry…
…is that it will be exploited to argue against emissions cuts
Geoengineering is a supplement to cutting emissions…
…not a substitute for cutting emissions
It would also be politically messy
If the plan is to put a thermostat on the Earth…
…deciding who has their hand on the dial…
…won’t be easy
For it to have a global effect…
…you’re going to need all governments on board…
…and that is going to be extremely difficult
If a country went alone and decided to do it on its own…
…then obviously because the impacts are going to be regional…
…or global, you could create a lot of international tension
A Swiss proposal to study geoengineering…
…and how it should be regulated…
…was recently put forward at the UN Environment Assembly
But America and Saudi Arabia opposed the motion…
…possibly because they don’t want…
…international regulation of geoengineering
As things stand…
…not enough is known about how it could impact the climate…
…or the chemistry of the atmosphere
There could be unexpected consequences
You can affect rain patterns…
…and you might cause a region that is…
…already suffering from drought…
…to have even less water
A lot more basic research both into…
…how we would do it but also…
…what the consequences of it would be…
…if we did it in one way or in another way is needed
But of course if we don’t do it…
…there’s deep uncertainty about how much climate change we get…
…for a given amount of CO₂ in the air
Both of those are risky, both are uncertain, the question is…
…which has higher risk?
The politics of solar geoengineering are so complex…
…that it might never happen
That said, as the world continues to warm…
…the case for exploring radical measures…
…grows stronger

100 thoughts on “Could solar geoengineering counter global warming? | The Economist”

  1. This would be like the nuclear option, so to speak. If feedback loops, like the melting of icesheets or tundra biomass start to accelerate the pace of warming, we'd have no other option.

  2. If we have solar energy, should governments charge for electricity consumed?! No. Only for installation cost they can collect rather not for electricity as solar energy is extracted freely. Let's see which government collects and who do not by acting radically and ethically.

  3. I call bullsh*t on this. "They" have been spraying our sky's for years. Because so many people are starting to take notice, "they" had to come out with "solar remidiation" with "atmospheric injection" to cover "their" arses. "They" are poisoning OUR food with G.M.O. and glyphosate.
    "They" are poisoning OUR water with fracking.
    "They" are poisoning OUR air with heavy metals.
    "They" are poisoning OUR children with vaccines.
    Wake up people.
    This is U.N agenda 21/2030. "They" want to reduce the pion (us) population.
    Welcome to the brave new world.
    Look up the Georgia Guidestones.

  4. Weather modification (Geo-Engineering) of Earth 🌏 already exists…
    For all we know they're probably already doing Geo-solar-engineering… That's why the weather sucks.

    Create the PROBLEM to cause the REACTION so you can bring the SOLUTION to the problem you caused…

  5. I thought George Soros was already taking care of this?? I know I read that somewhere. Anyone else heard or read that?

  6. How do the costs and benefits compare of this scheme compare to massive reforrestation for example? I need more info

  7. Put a very large object in orbit between the Sun and the Earth, closer to the sun than Mercury. Dim out the radiation.

  8. Don't worry once new york and Florida begins to sink even Trump would come around. But sadly it will be too late.

  9. I can't stand the heat! Entering another heatwave here in France just a few weeks after the last one. It would be so fantastic if something could be done, not only for us humans and other animals but also for our plants, crops and trees which are all suffering immensely.

  10. So why don't mainstream airlines make every of their planes release sulfur dioxide? That would cool the globe in a few years.

  11. Solar geoengineering is controversial. There are strong reasons not to do it. But if current methods of countering global warming fail, then the last resort may be to artificially control the global temperature. What do you think would be the best way to tackle global warming?

  12. Stupidity abounds! Who can tell me that the climate HAS not changed throughout the history of the world? How arrogant and ignorant are the idiots that think man has caused a significant change! Man IS a part of nature!

  13. In a volume of seawater 1m cubed an ultrasound wave of frquency 3Mhz and peak intensi]ty > 10MPa can produce 5x525million ((5 wave fronts, 3d) bubbles of 100-10 micrometres by cavitation per second, 5% which will persist for 2days.
    that is to say that for each second that a probe insonates the water 125million bubbles a 1metre long plume of bubbles will cover the sea of that 1metre width. in 2 days there are 1440 x2 minutes of 60 seconds each. So in the steady state a plume of180km of white bubbles wil cover the sea.

    Put probes supplied by solar power in every 2 metres for a curve 100 km wide and the albedo of a stretch of the carribbean, say, 80km x 180km would be white surfaced and thus reflect sunlight more than absorb it. Accumulated energy feeding hurricanes would be reduced. installing a thousand such arrays would solve the hurricane problem for ever*

    100k probes in 50 probe bunches ie serving 100 metres of front
    Transducers 100k x 200$
    Electronics and Power conversion $50 x 100k/50
    solar panels and energy storage (night time) 20sqmetres- $400 +$800 storage x 100k/50
    platform instrumented $50 x x 100k/50
    Total := 100k x $200, + ($50 + $1200 +$50)x 100k/50) = $20mn +($1300x 2k) = $24.6mn plus installation

    $50bn to solve hurricanes for good.

    *CAribbean area including land is 2,774,000sqkjm
    1000 projects covers 1,440,,000 sq km
    albeo averaage drom 0 to about 0.5, includingf clouud cover and waves at low incidence angles 0.4 to 0..7 I think

  14. Cancelling the sky is more realistic than stopping individualist thinking, or restructuring economic goals. Unreal

  15. Human nature being what it is it would only be used to protect the wealthy countries, if the poor can't pay they can drown or burn to death.

  16. Yep, controversial. The issue is that most of the methods we are applying today will probably require a lot of complexity and continuous energy input. So unless we take a step back (the rich North and West especially), some insane geoengineering plan will be our only hope. So this video is not talking about a solution, but about a very risky jump into the unknown. That's where we're at, stop looking at geoengineering as a solution please.

  17. IRREFUTABLE PROOF OF CLIMATE CHANGE
    https://principia-scientific.org/strong-evidence-that-svensmark-s-solar-cosmic-ray-theory-of-climate-is-correct/

  18. The climate changes naturally. The global warming hoax is a political ploy designed to benefit power hungry politicians. They want to control you.

  19. Such a hoax! Plant trees and has anyone noticed..chemtrails are stopping??? Great thing. Trump took control of that shiz show. We have had natural sky's in Sacramento for 5 days. My heart is full of joy!!!

  20. it would create incredible amounts of acid rains, damaging private property and soil health, thus consequently it would lead to a negative impact on human health (respiratory problems), soil health, food production, as well as the integrity of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

  21. God sent his son to die on the cross and bare the wrath we deserve so we could have eternal life…

    Please seek the Lord while he may be found…

    God is on control of everything you can not change a thing… Bible prophecies are unfolding preparing the way for the return of Jesus…

    It's important you know him because everything else will lead you to Hell…

  22. Why do you speak as if it's going to happen in the future when geoengineering with sulfur is already happening?

  23. I'm sure that the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago also kicked up enough dust to cause some serious global cooling. Maybe we should start bombarding the Earth with giant space rocks to offset global warming?

  24. Sulfur create polar stratospheric clouds which trap heat and errodes the ozone layer.

    This method will never receive the universal agreement and thus it is a pipe dream using useless tech.

  25. Given the progress that's been made cutting carbon emissions we should create a UN agency that is in charge of regulating injecting coolents in the atmosphere to buy us more time. The UN needs to do it because each individual country will look out for it's own needs and not the needs of the world as a whole.

  26. Who wants to cool the planet. I like being warm. Screw the beach front properties and screw the polar bears in the Arctic. Global warming  is just a jewish tax racket like orchestrating wars.

  27. So the Illuminati are finally pushing to normalize the chemtrails that they already do that caused the problem in the first place, eh?

    Color me shocked.

    Wake up people!

  28. GEOENGINEERING/SOLAR RADIATION MANAGEMENT IS ALREADY ONGOING DAILY. Jets have been spraying the atmosphere with light scattering particulates such as nano particulate aluminum and barium/strontium for the last several decades. My God have some courage and tell the truth.

    My guess is this comment gets deleted, cuz censorship and cowards not admitting what's easily seen above all of our heads. Research more at: Geoengineeringwatch.org

  29. Climate change has been going on for millions of years, it's cyclical heats up cools down, C02 is 4% of the atmosphere, you people push this global warming for nothing more than $$$$$ grants…

  30. Solving a problem that doesn't exist. In that process they will create more problems. Earth's climate warms and cools. It is natural. The arrogance of humanity is total non-sense. Geoengineering is the last nail in the coffin. Humanity will die with it with massive man-made disaster trying to control the climate and gases within it.

  31. The best way to cut carbon emissions is to go back to primitive lifestyle. No transportation. No flying. No power. No large scale farming. Just sustenence living. Then climate will automatically come back to normal. But humans will try expensive geoengineering in a very complex system as earth. But they will never give up modern amenities…never ever. They will continue to buy cars and phones, and upgrade new homes and fly like no tomorrow, cut all trees and destroy natural forests to get furniture….contributing to the mess. Self-reflection doesn't exist in humanity.

  32. Did you know that plant growers have been artificially adding CO2 to their own greenhouse air for years..? Why?…because with more Co2 in the air, plants grow faster and bigger.. a fact that is slowly being wiped away from Google search results.. . Bigger quicker plants = more oxygen produced.. thus balancing out the effect of any high co 2 emissions.. an inconvenient fact for those global warming fix businesses..
    As far as sulfur dioxide… If you add water to it.. you get sulfuric acid.. ( a main ingredient in your car battery).. contact can blind you, burn you,. Inhalation will burn right through your lungs etc.. so I'm thinking that this is likely the Earth's way of balancing out too…Because eventually, even the super scientists who thought
    Adding sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere was a good idea will inhale enough to render them unable to come up with other mmronic ideas..
    Brought.to you by the same folks that rename some chemical waste, and call it flouride… And dump it in our drinking water… And we pay them!!..
    "And the sun will be darkened"

  33. Like everything in principle, can work. Some are very much non-starters. This is one. As with a whole host of others that seem to be topical at the moment including the Hyperloop. The fact of the matter is that beneath us is a secret network of tunnels that facilliate this technology which is not allowed to be known about. It's has been in existence since the last century if not before. There are maglev trains which exceed Mach 2 and whilst that is difficult to get your head around.

    There are a zillion other things that would blow you away. Last night I was pondering over the Philadelphia Experiment and there are so many unanswered questions that come out of it. But the main one, wasn't cloaking that clearly our scientist were hoping for, as they stumble across time travel, and not being satisfied with that they ran the experiment twice. In order to correct their mistakes and for loss of the naval crew as a result.

    Frankly I don't think they even stopped there, as there would be no reason to, as clearly it was a major break through. But then what they didn't realise is how complex the Universe really is and what alternative realities were and the knock on effect. Sometimes in one's quest to "Boldly Go" can in fact have very damning consequences for whish we cannot fix. Even with our greatest minds. nor will we be able to with AI because AI has it's own agenda, and it's not inline with ours.

  34. It’s time to get more electrical vehicles on our streets not just to combat climate change but also breathing in dangerous fumes.

  35. Are you f**** kidding me or are you just f**** kidding me they have been spraying the skies with this s*** for years but it's not intended for climate control more like mind control and depopulation plan f*** you. I hope the ones behind this program die of ass cancer. Can we get some truth. The Economist are a bunch of no-good dirty rotten motherfukers keep playing games. When the truth does finally come out they'll be hell to pay

  36. I am sure scientists will continue to find ways to cool the Earth, right up until there are enough people on the Earth that you cannot even walk without touching someone. I am already in the camp which says it is immoral to bring new kids into the world. I mean, even in Syria, a war torn country where you kids are likely to get bombed, the birth rate in that country is too high considering the conditions on which the child will be brought up. Its this idiocracy of the human race that has caused this problem in the first place. Get the population down, restrict areas mankind can operate and let the world breathe.

  37. its has nothing to do with reducing global warming – it is a full blown weapons system -it is a weapon of mass destruction and is being used by psychopaths to destroy the biosphere

  38. "I dont1know how started the war, but I know it was us that blackened the sky"

    Climate change is driven by the sun, not CO2. Those that know about the lie are now acting to block the sun from humanity for a climate event that isn't happening.

  39. Hey everyone, I have great news. The AGW "global warming / climate change" nonsense is a huge scam propagated by devious wacko leftists. So no need to worry. You are free now!

  40. Wtf if you try and do something like that you will turn the planet into venus. It will cause a run away greenhouse effect!

  41. Leave the climate alone. It is complex, and the unintended consequences may be worse than fictitious man made global warming.

  42. This is bullshit. This is already being done and Harvard admitted it. Don't fucking act like it's new! Economist (owned by we know who). Bullshit more CIA ops on WE the FUCKING People

  43. Esto se esta llevando acabo desde hace mas de 20 años y en estos 5 ultimos masivamente. La solucion a la destruccion del ecosistema por la actividad industrial es contaminar aun mas con quimicos?. Solo a los dementes que han creado este sistema de crecimiento ilimitado y destructivo
    En un planeta finito se les puede ocurrir esta solucion. La solucion no viene por continuar por el mismo camino, esta en cambiar de rumbo, el ser humano tiene que adaptarse a los sistemas vitales del planeta , conservarlos y potenciarlos es la unica solucion la vida nos lleva millones de años de adelanto, tenemos que potenciar los procesos vitales y abandonar las soluciones tecnologicas para cambiar estos procesos. Mientras el ser humano no entienda que es parte de la vida
    No el dueño del planeta, todo el planeta funciona en equilibrio y cada uno de los seres vivos forma parte de la maquina de la vida. El aumento de temperatura es un sintoma de la enfermedad del planeta no un problema en si mismo es el sintoma de una enfermedad, que es la actividad humana. Dejen de manipular el clima con la excusa del calentamiento, para causar catastrofes climaticas y geologicas, dejen de manipular y
    Acumular poder. Si no cambian, tenemos todos, incluidos los poderosos los dias contados

  44. Well if all else fails we can go to Mars and try again. Even if the climate change math is true, we aren't going to die out till 2100. Enough time to figure out how to leave this mistake behind

  45. Lol another form of climate taxation. Climate change is real so are 'chem-trails' aka geoengineering. It's always a simple solution until it goes 'tits-up'.

  46. .-. its real tho we only have 12 years to clean up the mess we made >:( ITS REAL OKAY WE DON'T EVEN CLEAN

  47. How hot was the medieval warm peroid ?
    When did records begin?
    It's been a lot hotter on this planet before . We are coming out of the mini ice age. Do your homework.
    Co2 is great for growing crops ……
    Aluminium is not .
    Geoengineering has gone on for years .
    You can see it with your eyes , right in front of you.
    Because so many people know about it , and put pressure on the government to do something about it. This is to " proove " that it is not happening . As in its only being discussed.
    When it does come to public knowledge, we the people will say we didn't consent , it was kept from us.
    Boron , aluminium and strontium are the chemicals of choice …..
    Cheapest, lightest most easily obtainable.
    Unfortunately the collection of metals in your brain through inhalation and consuming water and food covered in it from above . You and I are being damaged!
    Check the statistics on mental health issues and alstziemers and early onset dementia. .
    The curve is exponential.
    Try and prove me wrong if you like …
    At least if you research it , you will get your eyes opened ,
    Wether you choose to see it is up to you

    Drinking distilled water will help detox the metals out of you ,
    Look into that !
    It's all I drink .
    Plus mineral salts and silica. …
    Educate and protect yourselves.
    Push for the truth,
    100s of millions of tons of metallic nano particles in the atmosphere already and they won't stay up there forever .
    This article is fake news !!!
    This is a crime against humanity and it's the military industrial complex and inter governmental organisations that are responsible.
    Dont watch TV. …..it is hypnotising you and your children. …
    Do search for the answers yourself. Don't take a man's word for it just because he is wearing a white coat

  48. Latest June 2019 data suggests that the AGW hypothesis is still not settled. IPCC models are running too hot compared to observed data. Might be best to settle that science first before considering this method.

  49. Too late…now, the easiest thing to do is to create a new kind of human that can live in this new environment… and a new kind of society as well…

  50. Sure, pollute the planet even more so big oil can burn more oil and further line their pockets and support crooked politicians. Why not focus on sustainable clean energy instead?

  51. Sulfates is a dumb idea, that will cause initial cooling, but you will destroy the ozone layer, fuck up rain patterns, cause acidic rain and destruction of plants, increase the incidence of cancer in all living organisms. In the end of the day you will have to cut carbon emmisions anyways. You can't keep taking higher doses of morphine and pretend the cancer is not there.

  52. We're talking about the health of the environment in which ALL of us live in and still governments and politics play a role arguing who should have the control…

  53. Suppose the planet warms, and an area becomes drier. If the planet then cools, the most LIKELY outcome is that the area in question would become less dry. Perturbation theory. There is no certainty, but that would be the most likely outcome.

    Mt. Pinatubo already showed us what happens when you put SO2 in the upper atmosphere. The planet cools, and in a somewhat even fashion, as the SO2 disburses.

    CO2 emissions are solar geoengineering. We have already been doing solar geoengineering for decades. We just didn't know it.

    The main problems with solar geoengineering are that

    * people will use it as an excuse not to cut CO2 and methane emissions

    * there are other problems with high CO2 such as ocean acidification that would not be resolved

    Those are valid concerns. However, the idea that a dry area would become drier, is not credible.

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