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Science & Technology

Climate change fixes 'could harm billions'

November 27, 2014 | Comment icon 59 comments



Could geo-engineering do more harm than good ? Image Credit: sxc.hu
Geo-engineering schemes designed to tackle global warming could prove disastrous for billions of people.
The science of geo-engineering involves utilizing new technologies and methods to artificially alter the planet's climate in an effort to tackle global warming and other environmental issues.

One method that has been proposed involves having a fleet of ships spray dense plumes of particles in to the sky to help reflect more of the sun's rays and cool down the planet. Another proposal suggests that injecting sulphate aerosols in to the air above the Arctic would help to curb the decline in sea ice.

There have however been significant concerns about the use of these techniques. Recent studies have indicated that geo-engineering projects designed to alter rainfall patterns could have dire consequences in some parts of the world, particularly in India and Africa were increased droughts could have serious ramifications for billions of people.
"We have a few islands of knowledge in a sea of ignorance and it's absolutely worth knowing more," said Prof Steve Rayner of Oxford University. "There is the potential that some of these technologies may be part of a broader tool kit of ways in which we can better manage climate change."

Previous efforts to experiment with geo-engeering techniques have to date proven predominantly unsuccessful. In 2009 an attempt to encourage plankton to bloom in the South Atlantic by dumping six tonnes of an iron solution in to the water ultimately failed to produce any useful results.

A balloon trial in the UK that aimed to test the methods needed to pump sulphate aerosols in to the atmosphere also ended up being canceled after widespread protests.

Source: BBC News | Comments (59)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #50 Posted by Bavarian Raven 7 years ago
what, we are doing has little affect on the environment, as stated in the thread roman warm period. the climate at that time is the same as ours is. It had everything to do with the env. Are most of the world ecosystems flourishing/doing fine? Ecosystems that we will die if they collapse?
Comment icon #51 Posted by Br Cornelius 7 years ago
what, we are doing has little affect on the environment, as stated in the thread roman warm period. the climate at that time is the same as ours is. It had everything to do with the env. Are most of the world ecosystems flourishing/doing fine? Ecosystems that we will die if they collapse? That was attributable to orbital changes (Milankovich cycles) and we were on a long slow cooling trajectory which would have put us back in an ice age eventually. That changed with the onset of the industrial revolution - but the Milankovich cycle says we should still be cooling. Its complicated, but don't le... [More]
Comment icon #52 Posted by Doug1029 7 years ago
what, we are doing has little affect on the environment, as stated in the thread roman warm period. the climate at that time is the same as ours is. We have already cleared 40% of the earth's land surface to grow food and for living space. Large areas of the ocean floor are dead zones thanks to nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from those farmlands We have raised the earth's average temperature by 1.6 C over the last 175 years, most of that since 1909. We have eliminated about 40% of the Arctic Ocean's ice cover and thinned the sea ice by more than half. We have initiated the sixth mass extinc... [More]
Comment icon #53 Posted by joc 7 years ago
We have already cleared 40% of the earth's land surface to grow food and for living space. Large areas of the ocean floor are dead zones thanks to nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from those farmlands We have raised the earth's average temperature by 1.6 C over the last 175 years, most of that since 1909. We have eliminated about 40% of the Arctic Ocean's ice cover and thinned the sea ice by more than half. We have initiated the sixth mass extinction. We have exterminated mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed cats, short-faced bears, cave bears, Bison latifrons, the American horse, passenger pig... [More]
Comment icon #54 Posted by Br Cornelius 7 years ago
Dude...we did not exterminate the saber tooth 'cats'...nor the Mastedons...nor the dodo....are you really that dumb or are you making this all up for funzies? All of the megafauna coincidentally went extinct when man appeared within their range. that includes the masterdons and Sabre tooth tigers. We also helped destroy the habitat of the Dodo (through introduced species such as rats and dogs and cats) which combined with our hunting pushed them into extinction. can I ask what you are smoking ? Br Cornelius
Comment icon #55 Posted by joc 7 years ago
Can I ask what the population of the Earth was during the time of the Saber Tooth and Mastedon..and how on Earth did we make them go extinct with a spear? ...and we caused the megafauna to go extinct as well...with what...our bad breath?? ....right..who's smoking what dude?
Comment icon #56 Posted by joc 7 years ago
LINK SmilodonThe saber-tooth tiger (as it is known in popular parlance, but its official name is Smilodon) is part of the Falidae family that includes every kind of cat living or extinct. It lived in North and South America and is commonly depicted as having lived side by side with man during the last ice age. It is actually much older than that, with fossil evidence dating it to around 1.8 million years ago. A similar but smaller species, Smilodon gracilis, lived 2.5 million years ago. The major hypothesis for its extinction consists of a mix between human hunting and climate change, but each... [More]
Comment icon #57 Posted by Br Cornelius 7 years ago
A debate has continued for decades now on exactly what was the primary cause of big die-offs of large mammals from the end of the last ice age: was it a changing climate (a naturally changing one, that is, unlike today), or the spread of early humans? A study by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark claims to have cleared up the cloudy question, with computer modeling laying the blame squarely on humans and only very slightly on climate.The study found a total of 177 large mammal species (weighing at least 10 kilograms, or 22 pounds) died off between 132,000 and 1,000 years ago, the peri... [More]
Comment icon #58 Posted by Doug1029 7 years ago
Dude...we did not exterminate the saber tooth 'cats'...nor the Mastedons...nor the dodo....are you really that dumb or are you making this all up for funzies? Saber-toothed cats were an indirect consequence of paleo-Indians killing off the large herbivores on which they depended for food. That occurred about 12,900 to 12,500 YBP at the time the Folsom point showed up in the Americas. Implication is that it was imported from Asia. The last North American mammoths to go extinct were pygmy mammoths that lived on the Channel Islands off the coast of California. They went extinct around 8000 YBP by... [More]
Comment icon #59 Posted by Doug1029 7 years ago
Can I ask what the population of the Earth was during the time of the Saber Tooth and Mastedon..and how on Earth did we make them go extinct with a spear? The large elephants have a very low reproduction rate. One calf a year and that one only has a 50-50 chance of surviving its first winter. All you have to do is kill one a year and the herd goes extinct. That and the dead-fall hunting technique was extremely wasteful of wildlife. Kill twenty when you only need one. The Indians weren't any better about taking care of the land than we are. ...and we caused the megafauna to go extinct as well..... [More]


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