- Deliberate large-scale manipulation of an environmental process that affects the earth’s climate, in an attempt to counteract the effects of global warming
- Projects designed to tackle the effects of climate change directly, usually by removing CO2 from the air or limiting the amount of sunlight reaching the planet’s surface.
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR)
- Removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it, directly tackling the main cause of climate change.
- Examples → ‘artificial trees’ which chemically capture carbon from the atmosphere, or encouraging plankton growth in the oceans.
Solar radiation management (SRM)
- Changes the Earth’s radiation balance, which means it can reduce (or increase) the amount of energy we get from the Sun.
- Examples → seeding clouds to make them brighter, or putting mirrors in space to reflect some solar rays away from Earth.
Geoengineering is still only a theoretical concept, some of whose examples are:
- Blasting sulfate particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays;
- Dumping iron particles in the oceans to nurture CO2-absorbing plankton;
- Firing silver iodide into clouds to produce rain;
- Genetically engineering crops to have reflective leaves;
- Spraying seawater into clouds to make clouds whiter;
- Dumping large quantities of plant matter into the ocean or turning it into charcoal for burying in soils.
Big plans of Geoengineering
Copy a Volcano
- A volcanic eruption can blow many million tons of sulfur-dioxide gas into the atmosphere
- This creates a cloud that blocks some of the sun’s radiation.
- By injecting the atmosphere with sulfur, some scientists believe they could likewise block solar radiation and potentially cool the planet.
Shoot Mirrors into Space
- Launch a mirror the size of Greenland and strategically position it between the planet and the sun to deflect enough sunlight
- As launching any Greenland-size object into space may seem impractical, optics expert offers another solution: launch trillions of tiny mirrors
Seed the Sea with Iron
- Phytoplankton, which dwells near the surface, prefers iron, Hence experts believe that dumping iron particles in the oceans can really turn the things around
- They’re also adept at pulling carbon out of the atmosphere during photosynthesis.
- When they die after about 60 days, the carbon the organisms have consumed falls to the bottom of the ocean.
- By pumping iron into the sea and stimulating phytoplankton to grow like crazy.
Whiten the Clouds with Wind-Powered Ships
- Like the volcanic eruptions some researchers believe the tops of clouds can also reflect solar radiation
- Increasing the reflective power of the clouds by just three percent could offset humanity’s contributions to global warming
- The way to do it, is to spray a whole lot of seawater into the sky by wind powered remotely activated ships
Build Fake Trees
- Artificial tree, a scaled-down version of an earlier prototype capable of capturing a ton of carbon in the atmosphere per day.
- Panels covering the surface of the tree, which would need to be about 50 square meters–will be made of an absorbent resin that reacts with carbon dioxide in the air to form a solid
- It can be compared to furnace filter, capable of pulling particles out of the air.
- The panels, or “boxes,” can be removed and exposed to 113 F steam, which effectively cleans the filter & seize captured carbon as liquid CO2