It’s come to this: Climate-conscious policymakers are beginning to contemplate the possibility of playing God with the weather in the hope of slowing global warming.
For years it was considered downright wacky in official Washington to discuss geoengineering: altering the climate by reflecting sunlight back into the sky, sucking carbon dioxide from the air — or a host of other gee-whiz schemes. But in the past year the wacky has won a following, spurred in part by the recent collapse of climate legislation as well as by growing interest among private entrepreneurs and foreign officials.
House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon, whose panel will jointly release a report on climate engineering with the British House of Commons this month, said the subject is “just now starting to get some attention” even though people recognise the danger in trying to change a complex weather system.
Climate engineering can be divided into two basic categories, both of which are untested on a large scale: solar radiation management, which aims to deflect sunlight away from the Earth, and carbon dioxide removal, which takes already released greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.
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