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article imageObama discussing the use of pollutants to stop warming

By Michael Krebs     Apr 11, 2009 in Science
President Obama's science advisor admits the Administration is considering geoengineering methods to combat global warming - shooting pollutants into the upper atmosphere to block sun rays.
Geoengineering will likely be the new beltway buzzword in the coming years, as the planet continues to warm and congressional opposition grows from Democrats and Republicans alike on President Obama's proposed carbon emissions restrictions. The geoengineering term in this case is defined as shooting pollutants into the upper atmosphere to diffuse the sun's rays and limit their entry into the environment. The methodology is a mimicry of power plant emissions and of volcano eruptions.
While geoengineering is synonymous with mankind's usage of technology to manipulate nature, John Holdren - President Obama's science advisor - believes it is a viable emergency option, and he has discussed the option with President Obama and his Administration.
"It's got to be looked at," Holdren told The Associated Press. "We don't have the luxury ... of ruling any approach off the table."
And while scientists acknowledge that the secondary consequences of this approach are not known, the planet is warming at a rate that could demonstrate the absence of summer arctic ice as early as six years from now.
According to the AP report, Holdren's concern is that "the United States and other nations won't slow global warming fast enough and that several 'tipping points' could be fast approaching. Once such milestones are reached, such as complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic, it increases chances of 'really intolerable consequences.'"
Many experts agree that warming of just a few degrees could set off widespread droughts and food shortages in overpopulated regions - and devastating coastal storms elsewhere.
"We're talking about all these issues in the White House," Holdren told AP. "There's a very vigorous process going on of discussing all the options for addressing the energy climate challenge."
More about Global warming, Climate, Sulfur, Geoengineering
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