Million Mile Mirror

Heres a program from our archives.Scientists have begun to propose some inventive ways of preventing global warming. They call it Geoengineering. However, to affect change on a planetary scale, you need to consider the effects on the global community. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.ambience, Dawn ChorusMarland: People have proposed, for example, putting a huge mirror into orbit with the idea that the sunlight approaching earth would be simply reflected back into space and would never get into the system. We’re talking about a mirror on the order of five and a half million square kilometers.Gregg Marland is with the Environmental Science Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He was on a committee that examined the feasibility of some of the geoengineering projects. For example:Marland: To put up dust into the high stratosphere to reflect radiation, requires only a small increase in the amount of dust that’s in the atmosphere now. Of course you’re going to notice it in the atmosphere because it’s going to stay there for long periods of time And it’s going to create optical effects. Obviously the astronomers are not going to be very thrilled by this scheme. It’s going to change earth-based astronomy.If we contemplate this kind of a system, a tinkering in the upper atmosphere, who has the right to do that? Does it become an international decision? Does it fall to those countries that have the technology to do so? Is it a decision the United States makes unilaterally? One certainly hopes not. But it’s clear that in order to implement these kind of decisions becomes not only a technical issue, but it becomes very much an ethical and an international issue. And it’s certainly possible to envision scenarios where we would go in and mess with the climate to the benefit of some people but to the detriment of others. These kinds of equity issues certainly ought to be a very important part of the consideration as well.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.

Million Mile Mirror

Should we use technology to solve global environmental problems?
Air Date:11/29/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Heres a program from our archives.Scientists have begun to propose some inventive ways of preventing global warming. They call it Geoengineering. However, to affect change on a planetary scale, you need to consider the effects on the global community. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.ambience, Dawn ChorusMarland: People have proposed, for example, putting a huge mirror into orbit with the idea that the sunlight approaching earth would be simply reflected back into space and would never get into the system. We're talking about a mirror on the order of five and a half million square kilometers.Gregg Marland is with the Environmental Science Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He was on a committee that examined the feasibility of some of the geoengineering projects. For example:Marland: To put up dust into the high stratosphere to reflect radiation, requires only a small increase in the amount of dust that's in the atmosphere now. Of course you're going to notice it in the atmosphere because it's going to stay there for long periods of time And it's going to create optical effects. Obviously the astronomers are not going to be very thrilled by this scheme. It's going to change earth-based astronomy.If we contemplate this kind of a system, a tinkering in the upper atmosphere, who has the right to do that? Does it become an international decision? Does it fall to those countries that have the technology to do so? Is it a decision the United States makes unilaterally? One certainly hopes not. But it's clear that in order to implement these kind of decisions becomes not only a technical issue, but it becomes very much an ethical and an international issue. And it's certainly possible to envision scenarios where we would go in and mess with the climate to the benefit of some people but to the detriment of others. These kinds of equity issues certainly ought to be a very important part of the consideration as well.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.