Since the small, practical actions necessary to help prevent global warming have not been taken, scientists are now considering crazy schemes to get the job done.
Mark Townsend writes in The Observer that U.K. climate scientists are proposing to build a massive shield on the edge of space that would deflect the Sun's rays and stabilize the Earth's climate. It would be made up of thousands of tons of small metal pieces, ejected into the upper atmosphere. Another sun barrier could be billions of tiny balloons sent into space. These ideas were inspired by the cooling effect from the 1814 volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, which spewed enough matter into the upper atmosphere to cause temperatures to fall by 30% for 3 years.
On land, giant reservoirs holding salt water could be built to correct the rise in sea levels caused by melting polar ice, which releases freshwater into the ocean, changing the current that keeps Europe warm. When needed, salt water could be released into the ocean at strategic spots so the Gulf Stream doesn't drop down.
Other ideas: Huge, floating cloud-making machines that spray ocean water into the air, and large algae plantations, that would absorb greenhouse gases, the way they do in the ocean right now.
Environmentalist John Schellnhuber says, "The present climate policy does not seem to be working. We are not saying we have the magic bullet, but this is a desperate situation and people should start thinking about the unconventional. Preventative plans on a larger scale are needed."
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