Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Geoengineering: The promise and its limits

22.07.2009
Four expert speakers attended an event organised by the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Academy of Engineering on 15 July, at the House of Commons, to address an audience curious about geo-engineering the planet to combat the effects of global warming; the solutions it offers and the concerns it raises.

Introduced by Dr Brian Iddon MP, Dr Alan Gadian from the University of Leeds opened the seminar with a description of cloud albedo modification, explaining how a "cloud whitening scheme", involving ships spraying small droplets of seawater up into the atmosphere, could help in the fight against climate change.

Dr Gadian was followed by Dr Dan Lunt from the University of Bristol, who in his presentation about sunshade engineering, described the most up-to-date range of CO2 forecasts currently being used by environmental scientists, the implications of those forecasts and how much benefit the positioning of sunshades in space, placed directly between the Earth and the Sun, held in place by gravitational forces, could have.

Following Dr Lunt, Professor Andrew Watson from the University of East Anglia discussed ocean fertilisation; dropping iron, nitrates and phosphorous in the sea to encourage the growth of plankton colonies which can sequester oceanic CO2.

Akin to the previous speakers, Professor Watson explained the boundaries and limits to this anthropogenic effort to adapt the atmosphere, "All of these ideas need further research before they can be implemented and they, at best, will only provide part of the solution."

The three scientific talks were followed by a presentation from Professor Steve Rayner, a social scientist from the University of Oxford, who discussed the social and ethical implications of undertaking projects to alter the Earth's natural atmosphere.

Raising the issue of moral hazard, Professor Rayner suggested that, after 50 years of telling people it is bad to put things in, or tamper with, the Earth's atmosphere, making geo-engineering projects acceptable to the general public is going to be a hard sell.

The four talks were followed by questions from the audience on a wide range of topics: From the likely prominence of geo-engineering issues at the upcoming international climate conference, COP 15 in Copenhagen; to the level of urgency and the imminence of the climate threat we face; the money available for research projects such as those described in the talks; and, quite controversially, the issue of population control.

Lena Weber | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iop.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Stagnation in the South Pacific Explains Natural CO2 Fluctuations
23.02.2018 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

nachricht First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals
22.02.2018 | University of Arizona

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>