The climate is changing. It was bound to happen, whether humans intervened or not. The Earth has gone through so many climate changes over its 4.5 billion years of life that it's enough to make your head spin — or melt, or get eroded by corrosive elements in the atmosphere, depending on what geological era you lived…
Geoengineering — hacking Earth’s climate system to reverse global warming — often sounds a bit preposterous, whether we’re talking about deploying giant space mirrors or dumping a bunch of iron filings into the ocean. The latest proposal? Dusting the stratosphere with billions of dollars worth of powdered diamond.
Before we talk about terraforming another planet like Mars, we have to talk about Earth—and whether we should be spending our resources trying to save it, or moving on to another pale blue dot. It’s a grim debate that some scientists say it’s time to have.
A remote archipelago in the South China Sea has come under an extraordinary amount of scrutiny lately. Here, China is building up small reefs and atolls into whole artificial islands—all in hotly disputed territory. In the clearest sign yet of its military intentions, one of those islands now has an airstrip.
Geoengineering, i.e. tinkering with the climate to stop the rising tides of climate change, is a provocative and frankly still kinda crazy idea. Two long-awaited reports from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) out today have some pretty harsh words about geoengineering.
This is the microbes' world—we just live in it. Throughout the history of Earth, microbes have radically reshaped life on the planet, from creating the very air we breath to wiping out almost all life on Earth. Don't underestimate the power of tiny, tiny microbes populating the Earth trillions of times over.
Regardless of whether or not geoengineering actually does anything positive about climate change, it'll probably have some unintended consequences. Take, for example, this theory that geoengineering will bleach the sky.
Here's the plan: A giant garden hose 12.4 miles long, tethered to a ship and attached to a 650-foot (about two football fields) balloon, which will pump out hundreds of tons of chemical particles into the stratosphere to mimic a volcano.
A physicist at Harvard has an idea for fighting climate change that's radical in every sense of the word. He wants to pump massive amounts of microbubbles into the world's oceans, increasing their reflectivity and cooling their waters.
While humans have unintentionally been altering Earth's climate for centuries, some scientists have begun to study how to intentionally hack the globe to cool the overheated planet.