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Engineering the Climate

fotko/iStockphoto

fotko/iStockphoto

By Christopher Doyle

As global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions continues to stall, can engineering the climate provide a feasible solution to climate change?

Christopher Doyle is an environmental biologist and freelance science writer.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The planet is overheating, and humanity faces an impending catastrophe unless scientists and engineers can find a radical solution that will save civilisation as we know it. Putting mirrors into space and shooting reflective particles from cannons out into the atmosphere are just some of the options that have been placed on the table.

While it sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie, this situation is not too far from reality. The climate is indeed warming as global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue to stagnate. And as concern among the scientific community grows about the predicted effects of climate change, not only on humans but also on ecosystems across the planet, talk has turned to potential ways to engineer the global climate in order to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Climate engineering – or geoengineering as it is more commonly called – is a term used to describe the intentional, large-scale manipulation of the environment and planetary weather systems. Once a taboo topic among climate scientists, geoengineering is now gaining traction as a potential option for countering the effects of anthropogenic climate change.

Meetings to discuss geoengineering technologies have been held in Europe, North America, South America and Australia. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change aims to provide an assessment of...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.