BBC Radio 4's final Frontiers programme of the year tackled a fascinating subject: what to do if current efforts to reduce global warming prove to be too little too late. The only option will be geo-engineering – deliberately tinkering with the earth's climate and chemistry to change it for the better (as opposed to blindly tinkering with the environment with little thought to the consequences, as we do today).
The programme brought together experts to discuss proposals that might cool the planet – principally by reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface by a couple of percent. The proposals include mimicking volcanoes by injecting sulphates into the atmosphere using artillery shells, enhancing the reflectivity of clouds by squirting seawater into the atmosphere from floating platforms at sea, and the rather more science-fiction idea of releasing trillions of tiny sunshades in outer space at the orbitally-stable L1 Lagrange point between the sun and the earth.
Not practical, perhaps, but well worth a listen.
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