From: Harriet Jarlett, Planet Earth Online
Published May 15, 2013 07:16 AM

What Do You Think About Geo-engineering?

Few members of the UK public are comfortable with the idea of injecting aerosols high into the atmosphere to help slow down climate change, a study has found.

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People voiced concerns that this type of approach fails to address the basic problem of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. They are also nervous about any unintended consequences of such an action.

But most significantly, they say that injecting aerosols into the Earth's atmosphere raises problems of international governance and control: who would ultimately be responsible?

The findings are the result of the first UK public engagement study to explore the ethics and acceptability of so-called solar radiation management (SRM) technology, and a proposed field trial for a possible deployment mechanism.

SRM involves injecting reflective aerosols into the atmosphere in a bid to redirect a small percentage of the Sun's light and heat back into space to counteract climate change. This is meant to re-create the global-dimming effects of a volcanic eruption.

The technique is highly controversial, because we have no idea how interfering with the climate in this way might affect delicately-balanced ecosystems, or indeed, global weather patterns.

Cirrus clouds and contrail image via Shutterstock.

Read more at Planet Earth Online.

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