As some of you may be aware, for a wide variety of reasons* (primarily expediency), I am an advocate for Big Science Climate Mitigation solutions**. Well because of this interest, Google Newsfeed just informed me of another such possible method — except this one works from space, instead of taking up valuable real-estate here on Earth.
Note: MIT itself puts this cautionary qualifier on their proposed sunscreen solution:
It is important to note that MIT does not view this as an alternative solution to our current adapt and mitigate efforts. Instead, it’s a backup solution meant to help if things spin out of control.
Footnote 2: This MIT solution relies on deploying their sunscreen solution, at the gravity-neutral L1 portion of space, the Lagrangian Point (the fulcrum point between the Earth and the Sun). Smart, it is a similar gravity-stable location that is shepherding the James Webb Space Telescope around the Sun — with a bare minimum of course corrections needed.
MIT scientists think they’ve discovered how to fully reverse climate change
The idea revolves heavily around the creation and deployment of several thin film-like silicon bubbles. Tea “space bubbles” as they refer to them, would be joined together like a raft. Once expanded in space it would be around the same size as Brazil. The bubbles would then provide an extra buffer against harmful solar radiation that comes from the Sun.
Researchers at MIT have taken that same basic concept [a “cloud” of small spacecraft] and improved it, though, by changing out inflatable silicon bubbles for the spacecraft that Angel originally proposed. Being able to reverse climate change would be a huge step in the right direction. Shielding the Earth from the Sun’s radiation would only be one part of it, though. We’d still need to cut down on other things, too.
The researchers say we’d probably still need to put some kind of spacecraft out there to help keep things on track. But, it could give us a good chance at reversing climate change, or at least slowing down the changes. […]
I must admit, I am somewhat leary of the scale of this solution. What if it filters out TOO MUCH solar radiation, is the first question that comes to mind. But then again at the pace were going, TOO MUCH TRAPPED solar radiation is exactly the problem, we are facing as a technological civilization hoping to survive past 2100. Heck, the way most most Climate forecasting models have under-estimated feedback amplification effects, reaching 2050 without serious societal breakdown, may be a stretch.
It would be good to have such ‘last hope’ mitigation tools in the back-pocket, just in case all else fails. Hopefully we will never have to deploy them on a massive scale, because governments step up to the Carbon-reduction challenge. Once they do that, perhaps those successes will spur some urgency to figure out how to halt the Methane freight-train barreling down the planet-warming timeline.
Afterall, world governments are so skilled taking proactive steps to solve Big Problems — and by that, I mean, NOT so much.
*A few reasons why I am an advocate for Big Science Climate Mitigation solutions:
- Expediency, our ramp-up time for course corrections, is rapidly running out.
- The scale of the problem is global.
- Most Scientists are quite smart.
- Governments are slow to react, especially at any scale beyond half-measures.
- Big Science got us into this mess, Big Science may be able to get out out.
- Feedback loops are accelerating the pace of Eco-system dangers due to Climate Change.
A few Big Science Climate Mitigation solutions** that I think have merit:
- Carbon capture: Mechanical Trees.
- Carbon capture: seeding plankton blooms.
- Carbon capture: Seaweed/Algae farms.
- Carbon capture: Smokestack scrubbing.
- Tidal Power tapping
- geo-thermal tapping.
- fuel cell and battery breakthroughs.
- CO2/Methane Enzyme breakthroughs.
- Massive Wind farms.
- Massive Solar farms.
- Massive reforestation.
- Think globallyact and work locally.
We’ve only got one Planet. There’s no Planet B, to bail us out of our predicament.
Smart Science just might.