Geo-engineering: now Bill Gates is supporting it
With the help of a group of very wealthy and well known individuals, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Chairman of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson, a group of leading climate scientists are advocating for the use of controversial geoengineering as a way to prevent catastrophic climate change. The scientists are lobbying national governments and international organizations to fund experiments that would involve manipulating the atmosphere on a large scale to counteract high concentrations of greenhouse gases. These might include methods like fertilizing the oceans to create a huge carbon sink or spraying reflective particles or other chemicals into the air to reflect sunlight and prevent it from warming the atmosphere.
The Guardian is reporting that the scientists support the tactic as "plan B" should the UN and global politicians fail to come to agreement on making significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Pressure is mounting to find a technological fix to climate change, as no international agreement to reduce emissions has been made. Although a process for negotiating one was set as a result of the COP17 climate negotiations that took place in December, it’s unclear whether reductions can be made in time to reverse the negative effects of the warming atmosphere. A recent report from the Department of Energy found that 2010 had the largest increase in carbon emissions ever reported, and according to the International Energy Agency, global temperatures could reach dangerous levels unless internationally coordinated action is taken to reduce emissions by 2017.
Bill Gates photo via Shutterstock