China’s geoengineering technology is being ramped up to tackle climate change
Scientist say it may be the only way out of the climate crisis
Geoengineering is being studied globally
China’s geoengineering technology and its increased weather modifications efforts should be a concern to us.
Geoengineering, although sounding like something that has been lifted from the pages of science fictions, has actually been studied by many countries for a relatively long period of time with large research being undertaken specifically in the UK and the US.
The process of geoengineering, also known as Climate Engineering or Climate Intervention, encompasses a number of different technological methods for altering the weather and weather patterns. These large-scale modifications to the atmosphere and climate environment are large-scale modifications aimed at mitigating, as much as possible, the effects of climate change in a specific region, country or area.
Some examples of geoengineering include:
This process involves dropping iron dust into the open ocean which has the purpose of initiating increase algae blooms to enable an increase in the oceans ability to absorb excess carbon dioxide. However, this process has had little success in trials and research.
This method of geoengineering sees seawater sprayed high in the atmosphere which stimulates the creation of stratocumulus clouds to assist in blocking out solar heat.
This is used to increase carbon uptake by planting forests specifically to absorb carbon dioxide, although this has also had limited success in trials.
While it may seem that not paying attention to our natural environment and undertaking too many activities that were not compatible with Mother Nature is precisely how the society got itself into this climate emergency, many in the scientific community, despite protest and backlash, are now claiming that artificial climate modification may be the only option left to help renew nature to some form of climate balance.
Geoengineering has not had a lot of mainstream media attention in the past, most probably because it felt like an unachievable goal that didn’t require highlighting. However, recently China has ramped up its testing of geoengineering methods with an influx of funding and a drive to increase its climate intervention strategies in quite a dramatic way.
Between 2012 and 2017, China funded geoengineering to the tune of $1.34 bn (£1bn), however now it wants to go much further. In an announcement by the Chinese government, it confirmed that by the year 2025, China wants to have weather modification strategies, specifically Cloud Seeding, in over 50% of the country.
They wish to gain control of rain and snow over and area that will be 20 times the size of the United Kingdom however it is unclear how successful they will be.
Although a number of methods of weather modification have demonstrated little success in trials, in 2020 a study funded by the US National Science Foundation found that, “Cloud seeding can boost snowfall across a wide area if the atmospheric conditions are favourable.”
While geoengineering may seem like an utterly desperate move that may worsen the issues that we are experiencing with climate change rather than solve them, the UN estimates that, by 2030, water scarcity will have displaced up to 700 million people. Therefore, it is understandable why scientists, and now whole countries, are seriously considering geoengineering as a viable option.
However, it is concerning, with the increase of research in this area, that countries, governments and the general population may see the climate crisis as less severe if there is an easy technological option to fix the errors of the past. Once wider awareness of geoengineering occurs then there is the very real potential that people will see it as a “Get Out of Jail Free” card and stop making collaborative and individual efforts to reverse the ongoing climate issues.
Whether China is successful or not remains to be seen but everyone should keep a close eye on their progress but not rely on it being the saviour that will see the world not have to make other climate efforts.
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