Can We "Geo-Hack" the Climate to Save Earth?

We are no stranger to posting the constant threat climate change has to us all at ARSE.

But this post might be a bit more optimistic, so stay with us as we get through some of the nasty stuff.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated in no minced words that we need an entire overhaul of our infrastructure, industry, and transportation as a planet or we will become subject to a massive catastrophic event. 

Paris in smog

The Paris Climate Agreement's goal of reducing carbon emissions by 45%, thus mitigating the heating to just 1.5 degrees Celsius was an ambitious one that a large number of countries have not adhered to.

Emissions have actually risen by 1.6% in 2017 and 2.7 just last year, according to the World Resources Institute.  

So what can the little guys do knowing full well entire countries will not weaken themselves in order to save us all?

Well, we can hack the climate, or "geohacking" as it has become more commonplace. 

The main focus of geoengineering is quite simple, either manipulate the environment to cool Earth or capture the carbon dioxide billowing into the atmosphere and store it. 

There exists some ingenious way of geohacking already.

In Sweden, Climeworks is a company with the goal of sucking carbon emissions from the air and turning them into stone. 

 Check out this informative video of their vision for a cooler future. 

NewYork based startup Global Thermostat has invented carbon sponges to absorb the CO2 directly from the atmosphere in one of the most densely populated western states in the world. 

The sponges are low cost, small footprint and use residual heat to capture more CO2 than power plants emit. 

They can be placed anywhere at any time with little to no maintenance and easily integrate with existing or new power plants.

Global Thermostat Sponges

A third and more ambitious approach that is not favoured by many a political leader, is to scatter sulphur into the atmosphere that will reflect sunlight back into space. 

This approach is untested and could mean that neighbouring countries could feel the effects of such a plan, lighting up their nights and washing them with the peripheral UV rays. 

This goes beyond the optimistic, warm and fuzzy world of geohacking and into the perilous game of "geoengineering". 

Solar geoengineering]

The same political leaders are concerned that the technology could be stolen or replicated by "rogue nations" who would use this for harm rather than good like some elaborate Bond villain. 

Some larger nations already perform a different scale of this known as "cloud seeding" in which silver ions are loosed into the upper sky to make cloud formations that produce rain. 

Expect within the next few years for there to be a summit and definitive agreement in place that restricts and polices the use of advanced geoengineering techniques. 

More here:

  1. Scientist offers better ways to engineer Earth's climate to prevent dangerous global warming
    University of Calgary, 2010
  2. Mitigating the risk of geoengineering
    Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 2016