J.J. Goldberg

Int'l Scientific Parley Mulls Slowing Warming by Blocking Sun: Giant Mirrors, Very Long Hose

By J.J. Goldberg

  • Print
  • Share Share

The Associated Press has a fascinating, must-read report today about an international gathering of scholars convened last month by Britain’s Royal Society to consider the last-ditch prospect of preventing global warming by developing ways of blocking out the sun.

The meeting brought together 80 earth and atmospheric scientists, legal and political scholars and philosophers to consider ways it could be done, possible side effects, political fallout and moral implications of massive “geo-engineering” projects. It was co-sponsored by a German environmental group and a federation of developing-world scientific societies,

The organizing premise was that the international community won’t be able to summon the political will to stop global warming before it reaches catastrophic levels, in large part because of U.S. rejection of the underlying scientific finding that the danger exists. The sun-blocking ideas are in the nature of desperate measures, a sort of literal Hail Mary pass.

Some possible technologies are purely speculative, like putting giant mirrors into orbit. Others are already being tested experimentally, including salting the upper atmosphere with sulfate particles that would reflect the sun’s rays back into space. Engineers at the University of Bristol are experimenting with the idea of pouring sulfates into space via a gigantic hose held up by balloons. They worry, though, that this would also reduce the ozone layer and raise the threat of cancer from ultra-violet radiation.

Another idea, soon to be tested by scientists at the Woods Hole center in Massachusetts, is to add iron to the oceans in order to increase their ability to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

One of the worries is that if any of these shows promise it would simply give politicians another excuse to delay action against carbon emissions.

The AP reporter said the dominant mood at the conference was not excitement but gloom.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Woods Hole, Royal Society, Global Warming, Giant Mirrors

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.