Geoengineering - managing climate change or an experiment too far?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change met this year to discuss the most recent findings from climate scientists across the globe. It was announced that there is a 95% possibility, or as some put it, an ‘unequivocal’ certainty, that recent climate change and global warming have been caused through human activity. Now, as important as this motion in itself came across, this was certainly not the most controversial issue brought up that day.

In the final paragraph of the summary, there is mention of the possibility of using geoengineering to counter climate change. The fact that the panel brought up the possibility of geoengineering in a way unveiled the fact that this had been a valid option perhaps for some time, before being brought up in this meeting. With the controversy surrounding such huge-scale projects, and in turn, messing around with the earth’s atmosphere, there is bound to be a divide in opinion.

As a scientific paper, leaving this until the end almost as a finale is what we as reader/listener are left to ponder... will this type of action in the future gain the results we need to combat the damage we have already done? Or will it simply throw nature off course and produce negative side effects; leaving us with a fate worse than if we had just ‘let it be’.

We will of course have to put a cap on emissions – however it was argued that even cutting all emissions altogether would not alter the affect of the damage already done, these will last hundreds of years. Could geoengineering be the only option for us to ‘repair’ our climate?