Can we reverse global warming through science?



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    This subject is still largely up for debate.  Presently, the only fully accepted method for reducing climate change is by reducing the amount of carbon in the air, either through the use of alternative energy sources, or by dramatically cutting back on our energy consumption.  Given enough time, the plants on the Earth would eventually be able to bring the level of carbon in the atmosphere down to a more acceptable level.  The trouble is we many not have that much time.  In an attempt to artificially speed up the process, many scientists have taken up research into ways to manipulate the Earth’s climate in order to reverse climate change.  This field of study is known as geoengineering, and as it is relatively new, many of the ideas it has generated are still in the early stages of research, and it will likely be some time before any are put into practice.  However, some of the plans that have been suggested are:

    1. Using reflective materials to redirect radiation from the Sun away from the Earth’s surface.  Since the Earth’s heat comes from the Sun, this could theoretically lower the Earth’s temperature, despite the excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Scientists have suggested a range of means to execute this, from sending giant mirrored spacecraft into orbit to increasing the reflectiveness of clouds by spraying them with salt water.

    2. Absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and recycling it back into usable fuel.

    3.  Using vertical pipes to circulate water in the ocean, in order to bring cooler water to the surface and cool the surrounding atmosphere.

    However there are still two major obstacles to implementing any of these ideas: The first is that many of them require the use of large amounts of energy, which will only contribute to the overabundance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  The second is that scientists and the general public are anxious about the idea of messing with the environment any more than we already have.  The outcomes of any of these projects are completely unknown, and from our mistakes in the past, we’ve learned that we often can’t see or predict the damage we’re doing until it’s too late.  Still, as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures, and more and more people are coming around to the idea that (given the rate at which climate change is occuring, and the clear consequences it is having on our world) these are indeed desperate times.

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