Scientists Warn Radical Solutions Needed to Tackle Climate Change

Writing in a special edition of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, published today, scientists from around the world warn that radical solutions are needed to tackle climate change if the planet is to avert catastrophic global warming.

The scientists call for more research on geo-engineering options, including seeding the oceans with iron to stimulate the growth of marine algae and phytoplankton; thus capturing carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, and seeding artificial clouds over the oceans to reflect sunlight back into space. A study proposes building ships which could spray micrometre-sized drops of seawater into the air under stratocumulus clouds to make the whiter, whilst a second proposes the use of jumbo jets to deposit clouds of sulphur dioxide, these particles then reflecting away sunlight.

Critics argue that a focus on geo-engineering as a solution to climate change is a dangerous distraction from attempts to limit carbon dioxide pollution. It will also do nothing to ameliorate the ecological consequences of ocean acidification. Professor Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society argues: “it is worth devoting effort to clarifying the feasibility and any potential downsides of the various options. None of these technologies will provide a ‘get out of jail free card’ and they must not divert attention away from efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”

See full article in the Guardian, 1 September 2008: Extreme and risky action the only way to tackle global warming, say scientists

Link to the Royal Society