The earth is experiencing one of its hottest periods. In fact, for the past six months, the world has experienced new temperature highs for all the months. Scientists believe that this trend is set to continue unless something is done. Countries came together to sign the Paris agreement that required each country to reduce their carbon emission.
But is this enough? Scientists are proposing the use of geoengineering as a way to curb the temperature increase. Geoengineering is the manipulation of the atmosphere by increasing or reducing natural elements or introducing an entirely new element.
Limestone shade to cool Earth
Calcite particles, the primary component in limestone, will be introduced into the atmosphere. The limestone will sit around 15 miles above the ground. It will reflect the sunlight back to space, reducing the number of sun rays hitting and heating the earth. By doing so, the Earth’s temperature will reduce. Calcite particles are extremely reflective due to their glass-like structure.
Origin of the Geoengineering concept
Like many ideas, humanity borrowed this idea from Mother Nature, in this case, volcanoes. When a volcano erupts, it relieves sulfate gasses with its lava. Sulfate gas (think sand) has a similar structure to calcite particles.
Sulphate has been observed to reflect a substantial amount of sunlight, but due to its toxic effects cannot be used for Geoengineering hence the alternative in Calcite particles.
What the scientists hope to achieve with Geoengineering
The hope that the technique can substantially reduce radiation heat from the sun by reflecting the sun rays. They hope to cool the earth’s temperature as a whole. By cooling the planet, they hope that the Ozone layer will self-repair. At the moment there are large holes in the Ozone that are continually growing, with even a bigger part heavily thinned. This damage has been brought about by the high temperature of the earth’s surface that breaks down the triple oxygen molecule to a double oxygen molecule which is then released into the atmosphere.
Although this climatic concept is said to be a monster breakthrough, scientists remain skeptic on how viable it is. Introducing a new element to the atmosphere will naturally have consequences, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In essence, the environment will push back to the calcite particles.
“We can be certain there would be unintended consequences,” said David Keith, professor of applied physics and public policy at Harvard. “What they would be- nobody has looked at in a serious way because of this taboo against research.”
The foreign molecules are heavier than standard atmospheric gasses and will sink covering water surfaces and rainforest tops. This creates a new pollution problem and affects millions of other ecosystems.
But after intensive testing, scientists believe they may have found the perfect balance of calcite particles. But by no means should it be used independently.
“My view is that solar re-engineering is a supplement, and in the end, we still have to cut emissions,” said Keith.”But cutting emissions doesn’t reduce the risk. A combination might do a better job.”
If conventional methods of conserving the planet are used with Geoengineering, there is a better chance of winning the war.