Move over GeoEngineering Climate solutions, MIT has found a mitigation method that works from space

Move over GeoEngineering Climate solutions, MIT has found a mitigation method that works from space

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Think of it as cool sunglasses for the planet…

As some of you may know, for a wide variety of reasons* (mostly opportunity), I am an advocate for Big Science Climate Mitigation** solutions. Well, because of that interest, Google Newsfeed just informed me of another possible method – except this one works from space, instead of taking valuable real estate here on Earth.

To note: MIT itself puts this cautionary qualifier on its proposed sun protection solution:

It is important to note that the MIT don’t see this as an alternative to our current adaptation and mitigation efforts. Instead, it’s a backup solution intended to help if things spin out of control.

Footnote 2: This MIT solution is based on the deployment of their solar protection solution, in the gravity-neutral part of space L1, the Lagrangian point (the fulcrum between the Earth and the Sun). Cleverly, it’s a similar gravity-stable location that guides the James Webb Space Telescope around the Sun – with minimal course corrections needed.

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The James Webb Space Telescope expands the horizons of our understanding.

MIT scientists believe they have discovered how to completely reverse climate change

by Joshua Hawkinsbgr.com — July 9, 2022

[…]

The idea revolves heavily around creating and deploying multiple thin layers silicon bubbles. The “space bubbles”, as they call them, would be united like a raft. Once extended in space, it would be around the same size as Brazil. The bubbles would then provide an additional buffer against harmful solar radiation which comes from the Sun.

[…]

Researchers at MIT have taken this same basic concept [a “cloud” of small spacecraft] and improved it, however, by replacing the inflatable silicon bubbles for Angel’s originally proposed spacecraft. Being able to reverse climate change would be a big step in the right direction. However, protecting the Earth from solar radiation would only be part of it. We would still need to reduce other things as well.

[…]

The researchers say we’d probably still need to put some kind of spacecraft out there to help keep things on track. But it could give us a good chance of reversing climate change, or at least slowing the changes. […]

I have to admit that I’m somewhat leery of the scope of this solution. And if it filters TOO much solar radiation, is the first question that comes to mind. But then again, at the rate we were going, OVER TRAPPED solar radiation is exactly the problem we face as a technological civilization hoping to survive beyond 2100. Heck, most climate prediction models have underestimated the feedback amplification effects, reaching 2050 without severe societal collapse, can be a stretch.

It would be good to have such “last hope” mitigation tools in the back pocket, just in case all else fails. Hopefully, we never have to deploy them on a large scale, as governments rise to the challenge of reducing carbon. Once they do that, perhaps these successes will spur urgently to figure out how to stop the methane freight train rolling down the global warming timeline.

After all, the governments of the world are so skillful take proactive steps to solve big problems – and by that, I mean, Not really.

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*A few reasons why I am an advocate for Big Science Climate Mitigation solutions:

  1. Opportunity, our ramp-up time for course corrections, is quickly running out.
  2. The scale of the problem is global.
  3. Most scientists are pretty smart.
  4. Governments are slow to react, especially on any scale beyond half measures.
  5. Big Science got us into this mess, maybe Big Science could get away with it.
  6. Feedback loops are accelerating the rate of ecosystem hazards due to climate change.

A few Big Science Climate Mitigation** solutions that I think have merit:

  1. Carbon capture: mechanical trees.

  2. Carbon capture: seeding plankton flowers.

  3. Carbon capture: seaweed/seaweed farms.
  4. Carbon capture: chimney cleaning.
  5. Harnessing tidal energy

  6. Geothermal exploitation.

  7. Breakthroughs in fuel cells and batteries.

  8. CO2/methane enzymatic breakthroughs.
  9. Massive wind farms.
  10. Massive solar farms.
  11. Massive reforestation.
  12. Think globally, act and work locally.

__ __

We only have one planet. There is no planet B, to get us out of our predicament.

smart science just maybe.

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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
— We invited several authors to explain what this quote from Arthur C. Clarke means to them.

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