Because global warming poses a threat to the future of humanity, there are some scientists who are beginning to advocate the use of artificial strategies for climate control that could alter the course of our history. There are a number of risks that are associated with geoengineering, which is the artificial change of an atmosphere, but there are also a number of rewards that could be experienced. This is why it is important to weigh the pros and cons of this practice.
The Pros of Geoengineering
1. Geoengineering could be very potent.
By adding higher levels of sulfur dioxide directly into the atmosphere, it might be entirely possible to offset all of the warming effects that happen because of carbon dioxide. The efforts would create aerosols that would reflect sunlight straight back into space instead of concentrating the sun’s rays onto the planet below.
2. It could be extremely affordable.
Under some theories, geoengineering could be accomplished through the use of a simple 2 inch hose that was stretched into the atmosphere. By pumping the sulfur dioxide into the air, it would then become very feasible to stop the effects of global warming before they can continue to create chaos within a regional climate.
3. We have proof that geoengineering works.
The reason why this type of plan to stop global warming is so exciting is because we have documented evidence that it will work. There is historical evidence that shows large volcanic eruptions have been able to stop global warming cycles in the past. The distribution of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere simply replicates the effects that a volcano would create naturally.
The Cons of Geoengineering
1. Geoengineering could change weather patterns dramatically.
Any time a scientific proposal to limit the amount of sunshine is brought up, the natural consequence of taking such an action would be to reduce the amount of rainfall that occurs. We need rain because it is nature’s natural water filter. If we don’t receive it, then it would be difficult to raise crops and food resources could become scarce.
2. It won’t solve all our problems.
One of the biggest issues that we have today is ocean acidification. Geoengineering does not solve this problem whatsoever. We would still be needing to deal with droughts and famines as they occur, and because there would be weather changes associated with the inclusion of extra sulfur dioxide, we might actually be dealing with more disastrous effects from the shift climates then from the immediate issues of global warming.
3. It only cools the equatorial regions effectively.
In order to stop the melting of the ice at the North Pole and South Pole, the planet would have to be cooled down enough that it would meet pre-industrial levels of warmth to stop the ice sheets at the polar regions from melting. Because extra levels of sulfur dioxide would be required to accomplish this, it would also create a sky that looked more white than it did blue.
If we are in desperate shape, then geoengineering could provide us with the options we need to save our civilization. By weighing the pros and cons of this alternative, we can decide together if it really is the right course of action to take.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.