The White House is discussing a possible energy option that seems radical to many, and once seemed impossible. The Associated Press reports that President Barack Obama is looking into the possibility of cooling the Earth’s atmosphere by shooting pollution particles into the air as a way of reflecting the sun’s rays.
This option, known as geoengineering, is only being considered as a last resort, according to the president’s science advisor John Holdren. In an interview with the Associated Press, he observed that global warming is happening very rapidly, and so all options must be considered.
"It's got to be looked at," Holdren said. "We don't have the luxury ... of ruling any approach off the table."
Stressing the urgency of dealing with the global warming problem, Holdren compared climate change to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."
Holdren is not alone in examining the possibility of geoengineering. According to the Associated Press:
The National Academy of Sciences is making it the subject of the first workshop in its new climate challenges program for policymakers, scientists and the public. The British Parliament has also discussed the idea. At an international meeting of climate scientists last month in Copenhagen, 15 talks dealt with different aspects of geoengineering.
Still, leaders are hoping to combat global warming in less dramatic ways. "It would be preferable by far," Holdren said, "to solve this problem by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases."
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