Sum of Particles
The long-term outlook on climate change is bleak. Last month, a United Nations report revealed that current efforts by the international community are unlikely to prevent catastrophic spillovers on a global scale.
This dark consensus leads some researchers to study moonshot solutions, including an idea so extreme that it divides the scientific community: geo-engineering our own planet by releasing particles into the stratosphere that will divert sunlight and prevent future warming.
New study by Harvard and Yale researchers published Friday in the newspaper Letters of research on the environment, found that building a fleet of high-altitude aircraft to release particles blocking sunlight would cost only $ 2 or $ 3 billion a year – a fall of less than tens of billions dollars of climate-related damage predicted by the UN report.
The report found that a hundred or so specially designed aircraft allowed a total of approximately 60,000 flights per year. It's not a huge program, they wrote, but it's important enough that a rogue country can not get anything comparable in secret.
Many scientists are opposed to geoengineering. They argue that this could have unintended consequences and that it treats the symptoms of climate change rather than their causes.
But other researchers say it is imperative to study the effects of programs such as sunlight blocking particles before governments launch their own geoengineering programs to combat climate change.
"Unfortunately, climate change is serious enough that we have to consider drastic measures," said Matthew Watson, a scientist at the University of Bristol on Earth, who was not there. author of the article. The Guardian. "Some people oppose looking for these ideas, but personally, I think that's a mistake. It may be that the moment comes, in a not too distant future, when it would be immoral not to intervene.