How best to chill a hot planet?

lenton_2009_figEven if we manage to slash our carbon emissions, planet earth is going to get a whole lot warmer this century. But maybe we can just chill the planet! For more than a decade, Ken Caldeira and many others have been discussing geoengineering solutions to global warming by cooling the planet using technical means – especially by altering the albedo, or the reflectance of the atmosphere, to keep heat from the sun from reaching the surface.

A blog post by Wired’s Alexis Madrigal does a great job explaining the results from a new paper by a pair of environmental scientists ranking the geoengineering options for cooling the planet in terms of how much cooling they can do.

My discussions with Ken Caldeira on this make it clear that these are plan B or plan C- they are not what we should be doing now. But the more we delay, the more we may leave ourselves with no other choices.

And if we humans really are in charge of managing global climate, we are going to need some of these tools!

Blog Post by Alexis Madrigal: < Scientists Rank Global Cooling Hacks>

The paper (a good read- and open/free):

Lenton, T. M., and N. E. Vaughan. 2009. The radiative forcing potential of different climate geoengineering options. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. 9:2559-2608.