A majority of people in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States support studying ways to reflect sunlight as a method to cool the planet, according to a new study. Researchers at Harvard and two Canadian universities say nearly three-quarters of survey respondents approved research into geoengineering.
The survey, which was just published although it was conducted last year, focused on solar radiation management, a type of geoengineering that seeks to increase the Earth's albedo by creating clouds or through other means. Support for the technique was spread across the political spectrum, the researchers say. But people who defined themselves as politically conservative expressed the strongest opposition to geoengineering.
Only eight percent of people were able to correctly define what geoengineering means, with about 45 percent able to define the alternative term "climate engineering," which is apparently easier to figure out.
The survey findings come at an interesting time, because a solar radiation management experiment that was supposed to start this month in the UK was just delayed by 6 months to address concerns by critics. The Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE) project plans to loft a gigantic balloon towing a garden hose to spew particles into the atmosphere, with the goal of reducing global warming. An initial proof-of-concept test would use a kilometer-long hose spraying water droplets.
The survey, conducted online, didn't get too specific regarding this method or others, however. The survey asked 18 questions of 3,105 participants, two-thirds of whom were from the U.S. Of those respondents, 72 percent supported further research into geoengineering. But 75 percent of respondents thought the Earth's climate is "too complicated to fix with one technology," the study says.
The survey findings are published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
There's a huge difference between research and concerted action. Support for the later would likely be lower (or more fragmented consensus wise) as things stand today.
It's better to absorb that sunlight as converted to electricity than to waste it by bouncing it back into space. Just erect more solar power plants which absorb the suns rays and convert it to electricity and don't allow it to bounce back into the atmosphere or warm the ground. That will cool things off.
The majority of people are stupid then.
You can't reflect light (heat) out of the earth.
You can prevent desertification. Only plants can absorb the heat of the sun and convert it into matter. There are a lot of issues with global warming but one is the loss of plants. Plants being replaced by concrete, metal and other building materials has created a huge desert. This is similar to the poor ranching practices that turned West Texas into a desert. The plants were stripped and the weather changed.
People say, well, we can't put plants on every building or road but I say you can try some things. Even the idea of algae on parts of the roof or vines over roads or even as simple as trees along roads can absorb billions of btu's. They can also help convert CO2.
Agreed, most people are scientific retards. Sure they say that want anything that might be a quick fix. However, once these projects produced unanticipated results, cost too much, etc, etc these same people would say, "See, I told you ALL ALONG that we shouldn't 'play god', blah, blah, blah" and use it as more evidence that "you can't trust science" or all that "no good, fancy book learning". The funniest part is that these same people, despite saying they wanted it, would honestly not remember supporting the thing that they now claim to be vehemently against.
Yah. There's a big difference between supporting research, and supporting action. This is a quote from the linked article: "The strongest opposition comes from people who self-identify as politically conservative, who are distrustful of government and other elite institutions, and who doubt the very idea that there is a climate problem." Are those three separate groups of people? Or is it all or nothing here?
Who in their right economic mind would spend millions/billions on projects that would not produce any type of benefit/return? Creating clouds with a weather balloon that spits out water droplets? Why???? That's one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard!! You'd think that in the NUCLEAR AGE OF MANKIND we'd have better ways to solve so called "climate problems."
I really don't care about global warming, but for practical reasons. Until someone comes up with a REAL solution for it that is cost effective, very efficient, and easy to implement, global warming doesn't exist for all I care.
Yes, lets ignore the fact that climate change is going to start trending towards cooler (already is), and start geoengineering to cool the planet. You can build paradise in a desert, but it is a lot harder to grow anything on or under a mile of ice without major infrastructure and a whole lot of power. I would suggest everyone read a book called Fallen Angels in Baen Free Library, by Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, and a couple other authors. A frightening look at what could happen if the green movement gets enough political power.
I wonder how much energy would not be placed into circulation (i.e. saved) if people didn't advertise irreverent information? Popsci, they are breaking you again...
My guess is that geoengineering has to do with modifying the ground we live on in order to achieve a change environment factors (or for architectural/artistic like landscaping).
quoted directly from Wikipedia:
"The modern concept of geoengineering (or climate engineering) describes deliberately manipulating the Earth's climate to counteract the effects of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions. Other uses of the word sometimes occur."
Why is the word 'wild' in the title of this article?
Pop sci has a clear eco-bias, and I don't have a problem with environmentalism, as long as it deals with the science rather than philosophy, and that emotive word in the title, which had nothing to do with the actual content article, told me which side of the science/philosophy coin the author was on, especially as I had previously read the source BBC article.
Objections such as 'we shouldn't play god', and 'we don't know enough about the long term effects' are valid only if the Earth was controlled by an intelligence, which we were disrupting by our actions. The assumption that simply stopping pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere will allow the world to heal itself smacks of intelligent design to me...and equally as risky.
The real (and sub-conscious) reason I feel most hippies* object to geoengineering is because it has the potential to solve environmental issues without the need for lifestyle changes. And this is where I feel philosophy starts to influence people's scientific judgement
Many comments have pointed out already the difference between supporting research and action, and I would agree that the technology does require a lot more work before we commit to anything. But this shows that the popular opinion is for investment into this sort of technology, and it is the loud opinion that is keeping it down. While I don't think the public always know what is best for them, especially when the economy is involved (and this is as much an economic decision as it is scientifica or social), in this case, let democracy reign!
*note I don't use the term 'environmentalists' in this context
The fact is, the general population is science illiterate and if even 25% of the people on the planet concretely understood we're currently living in an age that's at the tail-end of an interglacial period, the call wouldn't be, "Stop global warming," but would be, "Keep the globe warm!"
I'm just a little worried about this geo-engineering. Humans do things out of ignorance that end up having consequences that we didn't initially think of. Think of DDT. We release it into the environment and then find out that it was really a bad idea. The same with Co2 production. We had no idea that burning fossil fuels would warm the earth until it actually happened. Now we want to purposefully cool the earth? What if we try this and end up finding out that it was actually a terrible idea with global consequences?
Also, in response to Bareassedmunky to say the earth will 'heal itself' doesn't necessarily mean that ID is involved but that there could be counterbalancing forces within the Earth's climatic system so that it will regulate itself. When the planet gets too cold it starts to heat up again and vice versa. As far as I know ecosystems are also self-regulating.
WOW chemtrails are main stream now?? They have been chemtrailing north America for the last 10 plus years. Thousands of planes spraying millions of gallons of aerosols. Who is funding this.
The title of this article is wildly misleading. Get your story straight, popsci!
The comments here demonstrate that many of us are not very scientifically literate.... Anyway, the answers suggests that the survey contained some stupid questions. Most folk will support a simple suggestion so long as the pitfalls are not offered. Then they all to frequently go into denial, especially if their life-style is threatened.
Geo-engineering proposals inevitably fail to allow for the big picture. For e.g. it's not enough the bounce heat back into space or such, unless you also stabilise the sinking oceanic pH that could wreck the planet's mechanism for removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
It must be remembered that we have already been engaged in a massive geo-engineering project: releasing massive quantities of fossil carbon into the atmosphere while concurrently destroying much of the planet's forest. That exercise is not going well....
This is chemtrailing!! It’s been going on for over a decade. Just look up to the sky. Do you see patterns in the sky like the one in the pic? X’s and sometimes grids? Those are not contrails; contrails are made of frozen water vapor that dissipates within 5 mins. The lines that stay up there all day and turn into an overcast cloud, those are CHEMTRAILS…google them and learn something. This is a trillion $ program and it’s secret…..just now is coming to the main stream.
not a bad short term solution (if you can call it that) However what happens when the Sun decides to go into a solar low period and the earth goes into cooling? will be all be asked to have coal factories in our houses to heat up the planet?
That is exactly the point I was making - What makes you think it will come to rest at the ideal temperature for humans?
The earth wasn't designed to meet our needs, we evolved around what it offered. And what it has offered has changed repeatedly since life began, which is why we have had mass extinctions, so there is no reason to assume it is going to fix itself.
So to expect it to settle on what is perfect for us would require either a statistical improbability on a scale that is stupid to bet our civilisation on, or an intelligent designer.
If we can cause Climate Change for worse through actions put in motion without knowledge, we can cause Climate Change for better through actions put in motion with great knowledge. How great, is the question. And yes, it is absurd to pull a hose up into the atmosphere and "make it rain", unless of course you have research that shows it will most likely work.
What makes you think an intelligent designer wants the world to remain habitable for humans forever? I'm agnostic as far as an intelligent designer goes, but the more and more discoveries we make in physics, the less chaos I see, and the more order. Einstein's thoughts on this subject come to mind.