If businesses and States, do not reduce GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions, and do not stop destroying ecologies, then it is possible that the only way of keeping completely wild weather in check will be through geoengineering (GE).
GE is engineering the ecology and climate itself, to lessen climate change. The most usual projected method is to reflect solar radiation back into space, through the release of reflective particulate matter high in the atmosphere, or through mirrors in space etc…. I doubt huge mirrors in space will be used as they are too expensive and they may move out of orbit.
The problems with GE should be obvious.
- Ecologies and climates are complex systems.
- If we can’t alter complex human systems, to prevent climate change, what hope do we have of changing the world’s own complex systems and their multitude of interactions in a controllable or beneficial manner? We also have to somehow control human reactions to make it work. For example – no increasing emissions because we are now ‘safe’ etc.
- It is impossible to predict exactly what will occur when we start GE.
- It has been suggested that some areas will loose or gain rainfall dramatically. Some areas may lose plant cover etc.
- If we leave it too late then the Earth’s weather patterns may have changed so much, that we have nothing to work with in terms of predicting effects, and little ability to tell the effects of GE from climate change chaos.
- It is possible that some business and nation states would attempt GE independently with no co-ordination. This could have deeply difficult results.
- Some nations may protest about their losses, and there will be losses from either climate change or GE, and we may not be able to tell the difference.
- Nations may accuse other nations of conducting climate war against them. They could conceivably be right. This is likely to produce international tensions, and interfere in the governance and application of GE.
- As GE by itself does not reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, the planet’s oceans will continue to absorb CO2, and become more acidic. This may kill much plankton and other marine life. Ocean Death would be a major ecological calamity.
- To understand what GE we should perform, we need accurate computer models. We have good computer models of global weather systems, but not yet good enough. Once we start interfering, then there is no baseline, we no-longer know ‘for sure’ whether we are doing the right things or not. This can possibly be overcome by intensive research projects working with models and their prediction capacity – but again we are working with complex systems and human political factors. There could also be large numbers of others factors we won’t know about until they hit us.
- if we suffer a world economic set back or a world war, then the GE would probably stop and, unless we had reduced emissions considerably, then we would likely experience an even more rapid climate change, as the controls would be released.
GE is a really bad idea. However, if we do not push for action now to reduce fossil fuel and other emissions, we may have to try it.