[Scientists] are exploring global warming solutions that sound wholly far-fetched, including giant artificial “trees” that would filter carbon dioxide out of the air, a bizarre “solar shade” created by a trillion flying saucers that lower Earth’s temperature, and a scheme that mimics a volcano by spewing light-reflecting sulphates high in the sky.
My favourite of these ‘fixes’ is the solar shade idea, it is by far the most extravagant.
According to Dr. Angel’s paper, just published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, there would have to be a cloud of lenses about 100,000 kilometers long. To accomplish this, we would need to launch an 800,000 unit stack of these every five minutes for ten years.
How much would that cost? You think instead of launching huge stacks of these lenses every 5 minutes for TEN YEARS, we could take those resources and greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Plus we probably have a better understanding of how climate would react if we reduce CO2 and other offending gases, than how it would react to trillions of tiny solar shades.
These are costly projects of last resort — in case Earth’s citizens don’t cut back fast enough on greenhouse gas emissions and the worst of the climate predictions appear not too far away. Unfortunately, the solutions could cause problems of their own — beyond their exorbitant costs — including making the arid Middle East even drier and polluting the air enough to increase respiratory illnesses.
Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said mankind already has harmed Earth’s climate inadvertently, so it’s foolish to think that people can now fix it with a few drastic measures.