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Big projects

Scientists have been investigating some big ways of tackling climate change. Sometimes known as geoengineering, these could be huge projects costing many millions of pounds. Ideas put forward so far include:

Arrays of giant mirrors in space to reflect back incoming sunlight

Creating shiny clouds from seawater that cover huge areas

Fertilising the oceans to encourage the growth of microscopic green plants - phytoplankton - that photosynthesise

Creation of millions of artificial trees with CO2 absorbing leaves

Even filling the upper atmosphere with layer of suphur dioxide to act as a sunscreen has been suggested though this has led to serious concern about increases in acid rain.

next Carbon offsetting

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NOT RATED kimberley stephen 24-06-13 14:27
it is very interesting it has a lot of facts

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Uncertainties in science

Science can estimate likely outcomes, but there is always a degree of uncertainty. Given the importance of the issue of climate change, and the potential results of these suggested projects, how certain do we need to be?
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Cost of knowledge

If we are in any way uncertain about the success of any of these projects, how can we justify the huge cost?
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Precautionary Principle

Do any of these projects have risks? If so can we afford to take the risks they suggest, or should we find other less risky ways to proceed? The precautionary  principle suggests that, given an unknown degree of risk, we should err on the side of caution.

Activity: Is it worth the risk?

Do we know enough about how the atmosphere works to be able to try and alter it? Listen to this
 BBC debate about the risks involved.

There has been very little research on geoengineering; and its potential benefits and risks, including unintended consequences, are poorly understood.
Met Office 2009

Activity: Unintended consequences

Read p9&10 of  this document on modelling geoengineering proposals.