Mimicking volcanoes by throwing particles high into the sky. Maintaining a floating armada of mirrors in space. Burning plant and other organic waste to make charcoal and burying it--or burning it as fuel and burying the CO2 emissions. Even replanting trees. All have been mooted as potential methods of "geoengineering"--"deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment," as the U.K.'s Royal Society puts it.
The goal, of course, is to cool the planet by remove heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere or reflecting sunlight away. But rising temperatures is just one impact of our seemingly limitless emission of greenhouse gases, largely carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Arguably a more devastating consequence would be the rise of the seas as warmer waters expand and melting icecaps fill ocean basins higher, potentially swamping nations and the estimated 150 million people living within one meter of high tide. Can geoengineering hold back that tide?
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