Last week I focused on one of the main SRM processes, the input of artificial aerosols in the atmosphere and its impacts. This blog post aims to assess people’s concerns and the uncertainty of artificial aerosols through a case study, the SPICE project.
The SPICE project investigates the building difficulties of raising aerosols through a 20km pipe (Figure 1), held in the air by a giant helium-filled balloon (Pidgeon et al 2013). However, before this project takes place, SPICE aims to test this SRM method in the real world and wanted to know people’s response on the matter through a public dialogue.
|Figure 1: The SPICE Project planned test proposal|
Source: Pidgeon et al 2013
Pidgeon et al 2013 suggest the public is relatively unaware about geoengineering. However, when given basic knowledge people have high levels of uncertainty and concerns and relate the SPICE project to the Hinderburg disaster and the Chernobyl explosion. Furthermore many people feel that geoengineering is unnatural, and will ‘push nature beyond its limits’, as it is a manmade response to solve atmospheric irregularities which may lead to health issues, such as respiratory problems (Corner et al. 2013). Additionally the artificial input of aerosols may not help reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. It may be perceived as a ‘quick fix’, where temperatures are reduced but the initial carbon dioxide problem remains unresolved (Davies2011). Moreover, artificial aerosols will need to be constantly inputted in the atmosphere and long-term management would be required. If neglected this may cause dramatic climatic changes causing great concerns (Pidgeon et al 2013).
Oppositely, some people may argue that the inputs of aerosols may be beneficial. The input of aerosols is relatively a cheap method, hence being a cost effective solution for governments to resolve climate change issues (Pidgeon et al 2013). After the first day of debating in the SPICE public dialogue many people became less reluctant to the SPICE project. It is evident that under the precondition that the artificial input of aerosols are safe, and will be managed correctly people are less reluctant to use them.
Artificial aerosols may be highly effective, yet with many negative consequences. I am not sure that anthropogenic interference such as aerosols is the solution. However, other geongineering processes may be more effective and with less environmental impacts. What do you think?