Geoengineering and Climate Change
Numerous research has demonstrated that global temperatures have drastically risen over the last few decades than they have ever been before (Rahmstorf, 2012). This has been termed global warming and is attributed to a few factors, mainly greenhouse gas emissions or industrial emissions. These emissions are composed of carbon dioxide, which has accumulated over time in the earth’s atmosphere as more industries are established. The accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere prevents the escape of heat from the earth’s surface; in addition to the heat from the sun, more heat is trapped on earth, leading to global warming.
Subsequently, the results of global warming are catastrophic; islands are already sinking because the ice glaciers are melting and leading to a rise in ocean levels, in addition to drastic and dangerous climate changes like hurricanes (Francis & Vavrus, 2015). Since the efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions seem hopeless, scientists have come up with ways to help reduce the amount of heat trapped in our environment. These techniques involve large-scale intervention in the earth’s natural systems like soils, oceans, and atmosphere, all aimed at reducing the CO2 or reducing the amount of heat that reaches the earth. These techniques are known as geoengineering.
According to Lin (2020), Blackstock & Low (2018), and Talati & Higgins (2019), there is little to no research that has been done on the several suggested geoengineering techniques. They argue that the approaches may work, but they cannot permanently solve the problem of global warming; rather, they can only delay the process. However, they also point out that interfering with the earth’s natural system is most likely going to have dangerous repercussions that might even worsen the situation of global warming. In my own opinion, I believe that the best approaches would be those that involve low-tech requirements like the large-scale planting of trees. If both fossil fuel energy and green energy were put in balance, and every individual was aware of the fact of both sides, then I believe that the world would go Green.
Blackstock, J. J., & Low, S. (2018). Geoengineering our climate. Ethics, Politics, and Governance. Earthscan from Routledge, London.
Francis, J. A., & Vavrus, S. J. (2015). Evidence for a wavier jet stream in response to rapid Arctic warming. Environmental Research Letters, 10(1), 014005.
Lin, A. (2020). Geoengineering: imperfect yet perhaps important options for addressing climate change. In Handbook of US Environmental Policy. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Rahmstorf, S., Foster, G., & Cazenave, A. (2012). Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011. Environmental Research Letters, 7(4), 044035.
Talati, S., & Higgins, P. (2019). Policy sector perspectives on geoengineering risk and governance. Journal of Science Policy and Governance, 14(1).
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Consider, draw on, and cite the readings from this module, as well as your broader understanding of solving problems in complex systems like the climate, by addressing yourself to the following questions:
What does it mean to you to geoengineer the climate system?
What is your understanding of the state of scientific consensus on the likelihood that geoengineering techniques might work to solve the energy-climate dilemma, and which of these approaches do you believe should be adopted, if any?
Development of the Canadian oil sands continues, yet so does solar and wind energy the world over. On balance, which way do you believe the world is likely to go – Green or Black?
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