01 Sep 2009:
Influential U.K. Panel
Outlines Possible Geo-engineering Ideas
The U.K.’s highly respected Royal Society has released a study outlining two major potential methods of cooling the earth if mankind fails to slow global warming by reducing CO2 emissions: removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and employing technologies to deflect solar radiation back into space
. Stressing that emissions reductions were vital, the Royal Society nevertheless said that scientists must start investigating geo-engineering schemes to cool the planet. It said that CO2 could possibly be pulled from the air using various technologies, such as artificial trees and carbon sequestration, or by accelerating the reaction of rocks and minerals with CO2, which stores carbon dioxide. Land use changes and planting forests also could potentially play a smaller role, the group said. Methods to deflect solar energy back into space could include releasing stratospheric aerosols, pumping seawater into the atmosphere to produce more clouds, and launching mirrors or other devices into space to reflect the sun’s energy away from earth. The Royal Society dismissed a number of ideas as too risky, including a plan to seed the oceans with iron to stimulate the growth of CO2-absorbing algae. Last week, a group of British engineers suggested more modest and immediate ways to cool the planet
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Accepting entries through June 15, 2015.
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.