Q: What are some of the leading proposed technological fixes for staving off global warming, and how feasible are they?
– James Harris, Columbus, Ohio
A: While most of the world fixates on how to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere, scientists and engineers worldwide are working on various geoengineering technologies – many of which are highly theoretical – to mitigate global warming and its effects. Many scientists oppose using new technology to fix problems created by old technology, but others view it as a quick and relatively inexpensive way to help solve our most vexing environmental problem.
One theory for reducing global warming involves deflecting heat away from the Earth's surface using satellites with movable reflectors or injecting sunlight-deflecting particles high in the atmosphere. Computer models suggest that blocking 8 percent of the sun's earthbound radiation would effectively counteract the warming effect of our CO2 pollution.