The planet-hackers are coming


Earth Should we put more pollutants into the air to keep Earth's temperature down? How about covering polar ice with reflective panels to cut down on melting? Or putting a giant umbrella in space to shade the planet? Some of the ideas for easing Earth's warming trend may sound crazy – but in a newly published book titled “Hack the Planet,” Eli Kintisch says scientists may have no choice but to give them a try. The only thing crazier than geoengineering is what we're doing now to the atmosphere by continuing to dump carbon dioxide into it,” he told me.

Kintisch, a staff writer for the journal Science, delves into the flip side of the global climate issue: If we're in the beginning stages of a radical warm-up in global temperatures, caused in part by greenhouse-gas emissions, what can we do about it? One part of the answer is to reduce those emissions. Scientists, engineers and policymakers are working on strategies to do that. We could see cleaner cars, less carbon-intensive energy sources, and perhaps carbon-curbing legislation as well. But some researchers say that still won't be enough. Some of the less crazy ideas for hacking the planet might still have to be put into effect. That's why Kintisch calls geoengineering “a bad idea whose time has come.”

More here.