Some suggest that, because we are failing to stave off disaster
by curbing carbon emissions, we should turn to drastic technologies:
Reduce the sun's in-coming energy by lofting
into the atmosphere mirrors, or sulfate particles, or salt crystals
from the sea, which would cause brighter clouds to form
Or fertilize the ocean with
iron in the hope that it will absorb carbon dioxide faster.
Or (probably the most hopeful) extract
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and store it underground or
use it for fuel.
The first problem is the law of unintended
consequences. Thus the salt-crystal-spraying idea was regarded
as the most promising, until in 2010 scientists found it could actually
have the opposite effect by interfering with natural processes.
However, if these methods led to some disaster
they could be discontinued. But that raises the second and greater
problem. Any such method would all too likely divert attention,
funding, and research away from solving the root problem. Emissions
would continue, there would be an even greater quantity of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere, and if the geo-engineering effort failed,
or was not maintained, heating would suddenly resume at an overwhelmingly