10/29/2012 Leave a comment
British scientists have decided not to experiment with shading the Earth with sulfur dioxide particles, a form of geoengineering, at least not just now.
Good! This geoengineering experiment seems like someone wrapping duct tape around their mouth to try to stop smoking. Way too risky, too many unplanned consequences, and does not deal with the problem.
Sulfur dioxide is a polluting chemical that is bad for peoples’ lungs, corrodes buildings, and makes soils and lakes more acid. We should not make our biosphere even more acid. The excess carbon dioxide that we are adding to air by burning oil, coal and natural gas is already turning the oceans more acid and killing coral, shellfish, and tiny creatures that feed the fish we eat.
Also, the process would not solve the problem, but only mask it. If sprinkling sulfur dioxide in air did cool the Earth, as soon as that stopped, the temperature would shoot way up.
We know that getting more energy efficient, switching to clean energy instead of burning fuel that emits warming gases, and conserving forests would halt the increasing warming of the globe. These are the steps we need to take. Geoengineering would give people a false sense of security and delay us from taking the measures that we know will work.