Opinion: We can’t engineer ourselves out of the climate crisis

1 min read


Let’s face it — climate change is humanity’s greatest screw-up. We’ve known about it for almost a century. The science is clear. And yet, we’ve done nothing. It’s a f**king embarrassment. 

Now, finally, global leaders are scrambling to clean up the mess. But, even though most of the climate solutions we need already exist, we can’t seem to get our arses in gear to deploy them at the pace and scale required. 

In short, the world is heating up, and we are failing to cool it down. Humans emitted more CO2 into the atmosphere last year than ever before (uh…WTF?).

Understandably, leaders are scared shitless. Which is pushing them to explore some pretty dumb, and outright dangerous, ideas. One of their worst brainwaves is geoengineering — AKA playing God with the Earth’s climate. (“Geoengineering” as used here does not refer to carbon removal technologies which are, to the best of our knowledge, pretty legit.) 

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Some of these proposals include brightening clouds, altering the ocean’s chemistry, or shooting particles into the atmosphere to dim the light of the sun — what could go wrong?

While these proposals might sound like something from a dystopian sci-fi flick, it’s actually remarkably easy, and cheap, to alter the Earth’s climate.  

Solar geoengineering is one of the more controversial of these “solutions”. Its most popular derivative, stratospheric aerosol injection, involves shooting dust into the atmosphere to reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the Earth’s surface. The tech was inspired by volcanic clouds which have been known to cool the entire planet for years following a major eruption.