Problems with geoengineering schemes to combat climate change

The accelerated rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration in recent years has revived the idea of stabilizing the global climate through geoengineering schemes. Majority of the proposed geoengineering schemes will attempt to reduce the amount of solar radiation absorbed by our planet. Climate modelling studies of these so called ‘sunshade geoengineering schemes’ show that global warming from increasing concentrations of CO2 can be mitigated by intentionally manipulating the amount of sunlight absorbed by the climate system. These studies also suggest that the residual changes could be large on regional scales, so that climate change may not be mitigated on a local basis. More recent modelling studies have shown that these schemes could lead to a slow-down in the global hydrological cycle. Other problems such as changes in the terrestrial carbon cycle and ocean acidification remain unsolved by sunshade geoengineering schemes. In this article, I review the proposed geoengineering schemes, results from climate models and discuss why geoengineering is not the best option to deal with climate change.

Bala, G., 2009. Problems with geoengineering schemes to combat climate change. Current Science 96(1):41-48. Article.

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