Fake clouds among drastic climate change solutions

Clouds could be artificially created over the earth's oceans to block the sun's rays and protect the earth from the increasing threat of climate change.

It may sound like an idea straight from a science fiction novel, but this is one of a collection of eleventh-hour solutions to climate change that have been proposed by scientists this week in a collection of papers published by the Royal Society.

Alongside the radical solutions, scientists from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research issued a stark warning that that current climate change mitigation policies may not limit temperature change to two degrees Celsius.

The study by Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows – which includes global emissions since 2000 – concluded that adaptation policies should assume a temperature rise of four degrees Celsius.

They said: “By focussing on long-term emission targets, such as 50% by 2050, climate policy has essentially ignored the crucial importance of current emission trends their impact on cumulative emissions.”

Friends of the Earth said the research was a “giant wake-up call” for world leaders.

Climate change campaigner Robin Webster said: “We can’t wait for a magic bullet to dig us out of this hole – many of the solutions to climate change exist already but need political backing to make them happen.”

The Royal Society publication discusses a number of drastic geoengineering solutions to climate change that may need to be adopted if political agreements on emissions reductions are unsuccessful.

These range from the more familiar, such as sequestering carbon in the oceans, to more controversial solutions such as spraying ozone-depleting aerosols into the atmosphere.

Society president Martin Rees said: “It’s not clear which of these geoengineering technologies might work, still less what environmental and social impacts they might have, or whether it could ever be prudent or politically acceptable to adopt any of them.

“But it is worth devoting effort to clarifying both the feasibility and any potential downsides of the various options.”

He added: “None of these technologies will provide a ‘get out of jail free card’ and they must not divert attention away from international efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Kate Martin

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