Geoengineering: a new technology to fight against climate warming?


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While the promises of reducing greenhouse gas emissions are desperately slow to materialize, and that the risk of an uncontrolled runaway climate is more often mentioned the urgency of the situation, the solution is back on the agenda: geoengineering.
Geoengineering is the intentional, large-scale technological manipulation of the Earth’s systems, often discussed as a techno-fix for combating climate change. Climate geoengineering technologies can be divided into three broad areas:
– so-called solar radiation management (reflecting sunlight to space),
– greenhouse gas removal and sequestration and
– weather modification.
Geoengineering can refer to a wide range of techniques, including: blasting sulphate particles into the stratosphere or ‘whitening’ clouds to reflect the sun’s rays; dumping iron particles in the oceans to nurture CO2 -absorbing plankton; firing silver iodide into clouds to produce rain or genetically engineering crops so their foliage can better reflect sunlight.
To obtain a solid discussion on geoengineering scientific basis, the DFG has allocated a priority program ” Climate Engineering: Risks, Challenges, Opportunities?” at the initiative of the Earth Institute at Kiel (KEI), with the support of the Kiel cluster of Excellence “The Future Ocean” and a core group of 18 researchers from universities and institutes all over Germany.
This program allows to consider the uncertainties associated with ideas and concepts of the geoengineering.
Scientists are interested in both the scientific and technical aspects as well as societal, political, legal and ethical measures discussed. The DFG priority program will create an initial basis for further discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of geoengineering.
Finally, a comprehensive scientific analysis of the risks and effects of geoengineering will be the basis of societal well-founded decisions on the possible use of geoengineering.

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