Reflecting sunlight back into space like a mirror ‘could stop climate change’

Scientists have claimed that “brightening” clouds so that sun rays bounce off them could be one way to stop climate change.

Spraying reflective aerosols into the stratosphere to ping the solar rays back might be another, scientists say.

The UN Environment Programme says it is now time to explore technologies to bounce sunlight back into space.

Researchers reckon this could help our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are currently “not on track”. They claim the methods, called solar radiation modification, are the “only option that could cool the planet within years”.

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Andrea Hinwood, UNEP’s chief scientist, said: “Climate change is taking the world into uncharted lands, and the search is on for all viable solutions.

“However, all new technologies must be clearly understood and potential risks or impacts identified before being put into use”, she warned.

Spraying enough reflective aerosol into the atmosphere for it to create a noticeable difference to global temperature rises could bring about massive health and environmental problems, according to the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative.

On top of this, once humanity starts pumping aerosols into the atmosphere, it may be forced to keep doing this for a long time, as suddenly stopping the practice could be massively disruptive to the world’s ecosystem.

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While solar radiation modification and other climate engineering methods could be used as part of a larger movement to prevent the rapid rise of global temperatures, critics have said that these methods could be used to prevent real change from happening.

Oil companies have funded research into similar methods, including Shell, which funded research into the effects of putting calcium hydroxide into seawater to increase the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by oceans

On top of this, some scientists associated with conservative think tanks including the Hoover Institution and the Hudson Institute have written very hopefully about geoengineering.

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