Pumping sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to block the sun, brightening clouds with reflective sea salt, or fertilizing the oceans with iron are just some of the way-out schemes some scientists have proposed to fight global warming if all else fails.
This week, the American Meteorological Society issued a final version of its policy statement on geoengineering Earth’s climate system. The organization warns against the potential risks but also endorses research into the feasibility of such efforts, along with their ethical, social and political implications.
“Geoengineering will not substitute for either aggressive mitigation or proactive adaptation, but it could contribute to a comprehensive risk management strategy to slow climate change and alleviate some of its negative impacts,” the statement says.
President Barack Obama’s science advisor, physicist John Holdren, has previously said, “We have to keep geoengineering on the table...because we might get desperate enough to use it.”
Read the meteorological society's full statement here.
Image of clouds courtesy kevindooley via Flickr