Geo-engineering gets Royal Society backing
September 2 2009
Geo-engineering is an attempt to reduce the effects of climate change through mechanical and engineering interventions to mitigate the effects of a warming planet.
Measures investigated include removing CO2 from the atmosphere through giant scrubbers (the preferred option), enhancing natural extraction of carbon through chemical reaction with minerals and an increase in forest coverage to reduce atmospheric concentrations.
The Society stressed however that uncertainty remained around the effectiveness, cost and environmental impact of these measures and that efforts should not be diverted from the primary goal of reducing CO2 emissions.
Nevertheless geo-engineering approaches could lessen the rate of warming this century and provide society with crucial additional time to adapt to a low carbon economy.
However if temperatures rise to a level where more expensive and untried solutions become feasible then further approaches were considered to be of use. These include space based mirrors to reflect the suns rays and “cloud ships” patrolling the oceans, pumping sea water into the atmosphere to make clouds more reflective.