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  • Hey citizens of Earth, Trace here.

  • Most climate scientists agree that climate change is happening and that humans are to

  • blame.

  • Greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane that we've been pumping into the

  • atmosphere have been capturing heat from the sun's rays, and average annual temperatures

  • have been on the rise since the industrial revolution.

  • The common wisdom is we need to drastically cut back the amount of greenhouse gasses we

  • emit, but what if instead we just reduced the amount of sunlight we receive so greenhouse

  • gasses can't soak up as much heat?

  • If that sounds crazy to you, it's probably because it kind of is.

  • Projects that would accomplish that would require engineering feats on a global scale,

  • hence why it's calledgeoengineering.”

  • Geoengineering ideas to fight climate change stretch all the way back to 1965 when science

  • advisors to President Lyndon B Johnson proposed covering 13 millions square kilometers of

  • ocean with reflective particles to bounce 1% of the sun's rays back into space.

  • As you can tell by how un-fabulous our oceans are right now, we never ended up glitter bombing

  • the Pacific.

  • But geoengineering ideas still crop up from time to time, lurking at the fringe of the

  • climate change discussion.

  • They run the gamut from painting everyone's roof white, to drone ships that make ocean

  • clouds brighter, to launching a giant mirror into space.

  • All of these plans have one thing in common though: They're all trying to increase the

  • Earth's albedo, which is a measure of how much light we reflect back into space, as

  • well as the name of my hispanic alter ego.

  • There are a lot of reasons none of these ideas have gained any ground though.

  • First, as you might imagine, intentionally changing the entire world would be kind of

  • expensive.

  • And in a time when the scientific community is STILL trying to convince the powers that

  • be that climate change is both a real and serious threat, it's going to be hard to

  • get those same powers to shell out funding for something crazy like a mirror in space.

  • Ironically, the cost of these projects will likely be relatively small compared to fixing

  • the damage caused by climate change in the long run.

  • Second, these ideas may have side effects that would change the world in unintended

  • ways.

  • One of the most popular and realistic geoengineering proposals is to release sulfate particles

  • into the air, which would combine with water vapor to form aerosols that reflect sunlight.

  • Large volcanic eruptions do the same thing and cause temperatures to dip for a few years.

  • Unfortunately, these sulfates also react with chlorine in the atmosphere, converting it

  • to a form that destroys the ozone layer.

  • Basically these geoengineering projects might be like that time you tried to fix your car

  • yourself, and it worked for a bit until it broke in a more expensive way.

  • But the biggest reason geoengineering still isn't considered the solution to climate

  • change is because it doesn't solve the root of the problem, if anything it encourages

  • us to never actually fix it.

  • We have a hard enough time changing our lifestyles now, and if people learned that we could spray

  • sulfates in the atmosphere every few years and we could keep burning coal, oil, and natural

  • gas, why would anyone change?

  • And if we don't curb the rate we put greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, then the problem

  • will only get worse, and the situations we'll have to engineer our way out of will get more

  • extreme.

  • Another ambitious geoengineering idea sprung up lately: replenishing arctic ice with millions

  • of windmills.

  • Jules gets into the details here.

  • So knowing the risks and rewards of geoengineering, are you on board or do you think we should

  • focus on cutting emissions.

  • Let us know in the comments and come back here every day for more.

  • Thanks for watching!

Hey citizens of Earth, Trace here.

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B1 US geoengineering climate climate change greenhouse atmosphere space

These Massive Geoengineering Projects Won't Stop Global Warming

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/13
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