Letter to the Editor: Geo-engineering

Elise Chung

As we all know, climate change is becoming a pressing issue in the world. There is a huge environmental push to “go green” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2004, scientists began to research ways to control the ongoing climate change and discovered a new and promising technique, called “geo-engineering,” to hopefully control the change before severe repercussions arise.

Geo-engineering works mainly to control the chemical aerosols to either reduce the heating of Earth or to decrease the number of greenhouse gases. Early on, scientists expected to reduce the rate of heating of the Earth by 0.2-0.7 degrees.

However, as more studying is being done on geo-engineering, we see that there are several risks and criticisms that coming along with this field of study.

For instance, some methods of climate engineering shows that it can deplete the ozone layer in the stratosphere, which is a key component in reflecting harmful UV rays from the sunlight. Another concern are the effects on sunlight and clouds as reduced sunlight and more clouds can impact the plant life on Earth, and thus affect the biodiversity of organisms.

Geo-engineering may also cause unexpected floods or droughts, and unstable or unpredictable volcanic eruptions and El Nino, which can severely disrupt the climate.

Not only is it a biological issue, but there is also a political and social issue with geo-engineering. Geo-engineering, as studies show, can also be used as a “weapon” by creating droughts and creating grounds more favorable to one side during battle. It becomes a social issue when people begin to rely on geo-engineering, and the push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will decline, if not, disappear.

As we can see, geo-engineering can be both beneficial and devastating. There is a pressing need to find a solution in trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although geo-engineering is not the solution for today, I believe that with more research and studying going into it can impact our Earth and can provide us with a healthier and more stable environment.