Geoengineering is not focused on a single technology, but on large-scale alteration of the earth’s oceans, terrain, and atmosphere in order to slow down the global warming process. These proposals are intended to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide and solar rays hitting the earth. As the technology of the world grows more sophisticated, so do the possibilities for geoengineering expansion.
Geoengineering is an adaptation method, and does not seek to change our current emission levels. Rather, it seeks to change to the environment around us. Geoengineering is not the final solution to solving global warming, but its applications can be used to dramatically lessen its effects. In conjunction with mitigation strategies, geoengineering can extend the deadline with which to find a viable and stable solution for global warming.
The implementation of solar reflectors into outer space is one of the most prominent of geoengineering schemes. One proposal involves putting 16 trillion refracting discs into space in order to reflect 2% of the suns rays. This would reduce the burden of the sun on the climate and offset the increased amount of carbon dioxide. Despite the promising technology, it requires vast amounts of resources which could only be attained through international cooperation. This method would also reduce annual rainfall by 2%, increasing the likelihood of droughts in an increasing populated world. In addition, solar shields have the potential to be used as weapons.
The explosion of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 presented hope for input of sulfur into the atmosphere. The global ban on aerosols provided a precursor for effective global initiative to stop a potentially catastrophic event in the depletion of the ozone layer. Ironically, aerosols are now considered as part of the solution to slow down the global warming process.An immense volcanic eruption such as Mount Pinatubo correlates with global decrease in temperatures. The large amounts of ash serve as a blanket that blocks solar rays. The explosion of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 caused a dip in global temperatures, and presented an anomaly in the constantly increasing temperatures occurring each year. The input of half the amount of sulfur from Pinatubo into the atmosphere every year would counterbalance the effect of greenhouse gases. The risk is that all the sulfur can damage the stratospheric ozone layer.
Ocean Sequestration and Fertilization
The vast surface area of the ocean also presents an opportunity to use technology in order to dump large amounts of carbon dioxide into the ocean. The ocean currently absorbs 80% of the carbon dioxide that is put into the atmosphere. One proposal for ocean sequestration involves tubes being placed underwater and phytoplankton bloom growth stimulated with iron in order to absorb the carbon dioxide. This second phase is known as ocean fertilization and is designed to increase the amount of carbon dioxide the ocean can absorb. However, opposition on the issue is based on the uncertainties of the water’s chemistry. The massive amounts of carbon dioxide could change the ocean’s chemistry and further exacerbate the problem. It could present considerable damage to the organisms that exist in the oceans.
Economics and Cost-Benefit Analysis
Geoengineering is an expensive, large scale enterprise. Many of these technologies need further research and have not been implemented yet. Taking into account the cost-benefit analysis, geoengineering becomes more lucrative when the effects of climate change become too demanding on the global population. In comparison to mitigation, geoengineering presents fixed costs for proposals. Mitigation, on the other hand, depends on the amount being decreased in emissions. The estimated cost for downwelling ocean currents, or sequestering carbon in the ocean, is estimated to cost about $45 billion. However, this is something northern European states can afford.Another benefit to this is that geoengineering does not involve a change in our oil-based economy, for better or for worse.
Geoengineering does not present the problems in international law that mitigation in areas such as solar and wind power present. For the most part, geoengineering does not need the full participation of all international members in order to succeed. Most advanced nations could incur the cost, and it would not force domestic lifestyles and economic policies. Nevertheless, the risk associated with geoengineering presents political tension. Ocean sequestration and fertilization has the potential to cause friction over maritime boundary disputes. The risks in this respect are also uncertain, and fishing industries might be deeply affected.
Geoengineering is a cost intensive process, and only the wealthiest handful of nations such as the United States and France could afford to implement such technologies. The global community therefore can only hope to prevent the use of such risky geoengineering methods. If a wealthy nation felt that the situation was desperate and was worried about its survival, it would certainly be compelled to implement geoengineering processes despite the uncertainties involved. For example, sulfates being pumped into the air has the potential to produce acid rain, risking the welfare of poorer nations especially. The inequality of wealth creates a disparity of power in which a few determine the fate of the rest. Such a situation is just as dangerous as the possession of nuclear weapons, where exclusive technology can have devastating effects on the planet.
Geoengineering is a questionable method precisely because it deals with adapting to our heavy dependence on fossil fuels rather than returning our emissions to stable levels. The idea of fundamentally altering our planet to accommodate the needs of humans is not only risky but extremely selfish. Even supporters of geoengineering believe that it should be complimented with mitigation, and that it be implemented in times of dire need to buy more time for durable mitigation strategies.  Altering the planet even more in order to lessen the damage humans have caused is counter intuitive and irrational. Geoengineering is only condoning the problem rather than adressing the root cause, which has been alteration and unnatural change of the atmosphere.
You might want to add something about political/social issues
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