Sum of the particles
The long-term perspective on climate change is bleak. Last month, a United Nations report found that the current efforts of the international community are unlikely to avoid the catastrophic consequences globally.
That bleak consensus is prompting some researchers to investigate shooting solutions, including such an extreme idea that has divided the scientific community: the geoengineering of our own planet by releasing particles into the stratosphere that will deflect sunlight and prevent warming future.
A new study by Harvard and Yale researchers, published Friday in the journal. Environmental research letters, discovered that building a fleet of high-altitude aircraft to release particles that block sunlight could cost only $ 2 or $ 3 billion per year, a drop in the cube compared to the tens of billions of dollars in damages related to the climate predicted by the UN report.
The authors of the report found that the effort could be carried out by some 100 specially designed aircraft, which would eventually make a total of about 60,000 flights per year. It is not a huge program, they wrote, but it is important enough so that a dishonest nation can not achieve something comparable in secret.
Many scientists are opposed to geoengineering. They argue that it could have unintended consequences and that it treats the symptoms of climate change instead of causes.
But other researchers say it is imperative to investigate the effects of programs such as particles that block sunlight before governments start their own geoengineering programs to combat climate change.
"Unfortunately, climate change is serious enough that we have to consider drastic action," said Matthew Watson, a scientist at Bristol Earth University who was not the author of the article. The Guardian. "Some argue against investigating these ideas, but personally I think it's a mistake. There may come a time, in a not so distant future, where it would be immoral not to intervene. "