Cool the Earth and thus combat global warming. How? “By deflecting the sun’s rays,” says a group of more than 60 scientists from the United States, Canada and Europe, led by James Hansen, the renowned former Nasa climate researcher, who have signed a letter calling for more detail on the topic and how to implement the deflection.
Rapid cooling of our hemisphere is needed, because – the appeal’s drafters warn – “it is increasingly unlikely” that the world will remain below 2°C of warming due to a failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an issue that requires “rigorous and rapid scientific assessment.”
In short, there is no more time to waste. While the signatories make clear that reducing emissions is the top priority, they also argue that “the full ramifications of geoengineering, also called solar radiation management (Srm), must be understood as soon as possible,” reports the Guardian, “before we fall into despair.” And “since decisions on whether or not to implement Srm are likely to be made over the next one to two decades, a robust international scientific assessment of Srm approaches is needed as quickly as possible,” say the 60-plus scientists.
According to reports in the British paper, however, “there are a number of different climate interventions to try to artificially curb global warming, such as brightening clouds to make them more reflective of sunlight, although the most likely option is the spraying of aerosol particles, such as sulfur, into the stratosphere.” These particles would ultimately “deflect the sun’s rays and rapidly cool the planet, by 1°C or perhaps even more.” A kind of sunlight blackout, but there are downsides as well because solar geoengineering, writes the Guardian, “has never been fully tested and has faced stiff opposition when it has been attempted, due to fears of unknown environmental impacts and concerns about the lack of governance surrounding the practice.”