The United Kingdom’s Royal Academy spent a year studying technologies such as shooting reflecting particles into the atmosphere, growing artificial trees to suck up carbon, and launching solar shades.

Its report, which came out in September 2009 (download Geoengineering the Climate: Science, Governance, and Uncertainty), the Royal Academy indicated some of the technologies look promising but need further research.

There are those who want to make it all happen now.

“We estimate that up to two million new jobs will be created in this sector by 2050,” said Dr Tim Fox, Head of Environment and Climate Change at the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which recently issued a report arguing that geo-engineering technology could pave the way to a greener future.

“At the moment no-one is taking greenhouses gases out of the air and no-one is trying to reflect back solar radiation. If we were to do either of these they would develop into billions of tonnes of gases per year or thousands of square miles of reflective devices. That equates to probably millions not thousands of jobs worldwide.”

(From “Can Cloud Ships and Space Sun Shades Fix the Planet?” CNN Eco Solutions, 11/3/2009)

And there are those who really, really don’t, mostly environmentalists, who argue, correctly, that these technologies are unproven and may have grave unforeseen consequences.

Myself? I just want people to make islands for polar bears.

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  1. Todd Bradley January 23, 2010 at 11:19 am - Reply

    I just saw a photo recently – maybe in Sierra magazine – where these guys had a huge white polar fleece blanket they were unrolling onto a glacier in the Alps. It was meant to keep the snow from melting so fast, and obviously the white color was intended to bounce solar radiation back up. So I’m not sure the statement that “no-one is trying to reflect back solar radiation” is true.

  2. Beth Partin January 23, 2010 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    I will definitely check that out. I’m glad some people are taking the initiative to see what can be done. Especially for villages downslope of glaciers, keeping them intact is crucial.

  3. Fleece Blankets for Glaciers February 3, 2010 at 10:56 am - Reply

    […] to Todd, who brought this to my attention after reading this quote from my post, “Geoengineering: Good or Bad?” At the moment no-one is taking greenhouses gases out of the air and no-one is trying to […]