Wild cosmic conspiracies like science fiction could slow climate change
climate change is a real issue. Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are the main drivers of the unprecedented rise in average global temperature at a rate never seen before in the Earth’s geological record. The problem is so serious that attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may come too little or too late. So a team based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology proposed a radical new solution. It’s a bubble in space.
That’s right, cosmic bubbles. This idea is based on two areas of interest. One is that even as we try to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions for the future, the damage we have already done through more than a century of high industrialization is already driving the Earth’s climate trajectory in the wrong direction. It means that you are
Even if we stopped all greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow, we would still have to endure the severe impacts of climate change in the decades and even centuries to come, including continued sea level rise and more extreme weather events. That could be very bad. , and disruption to food-producing areas.
Another way to tackle this problem is to sequester or remove carbon, or somehow limit the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface. For example, releasing an aerosol into the atmosphere. The MIT team believes that our climate system is so complex and dynamic that introducing artificial elements into the atmosphere itself is irreversible, so this is generally a bad idea. claims.
That is why they are thinking of space. The idea is to develop rafts of thin, bubble-like membranes. These membranes reflect or absorb some of the sunlight that reaches Earth by literally blocking it. The team claims that a mere 1.5% reduction in the amount of sunlight reaching Earth could completely eliminate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
Personally, I’m pretty skeptical of this idea. For one thing, the team has yet to clarify what these bubbles are made from and how they’ll be sent to a target location near the first Lagrangian point in the Earth-Solar system. , the stability of the raft must be maintained by balancing the gravitational forces of the Earth, the Sun, and possibly other planets. must also fight.
Blocking even a fraction of the sun’s radiation would require a raft thousands of miles wide, making it the largest structure ever put into space. So there is only a slight engineering challenge to make this work.
MIT researchers claim that this space-based approach is fully reversible, but only in a way. Yes, if you decide that a raft is a bad idea or doesn’t work as expected, you can float it freely or take it apart. There are many built-in feedback loops that we don’t fully understand.
What would be the overall effect of blocking 1.5% of the sun’s light for years, decades, centuries? How does that affect things considerations? Do we really believe we have the technical and intellectual capacity to do this right?
Finally, developing solutions to reduce the amount of sunlight that hits the earth does not address the underlying problem. This means that they are causing serious harm to the Earth’s climate and biosphere. If we’ve covered what we want, why should we stop polluting and emitting greenhouse gases when we can add more foam to the raft? issues need to be addressed.
The team admits they still have a lot of work to do, but after years of work, I wouldn’t be surprised if the reality of the complexity of this proposed solution pops their bubble. prize.
This article was originally published on Universe Today To Paul M. SutterRead the original article here.