This week’s core lecture was called “Geoengineering, Climate Change, and Ethics” by Dan Hirleman, the Dean of Engineering. In this lecture, Hirleman discussed how geoengineering could play a role in managing climate change.
According to Hirleman, “climate change is any change in environment.” Human activities generate a lot of carbon dioxide into the environment; in fact, it is equivalent to 1% of what is coming in from the sun. Some methods for managing solar reflection includes surface reflectivity, human settlement reflectivity, grassland and crop reflectivity, and desert surface reflectivity. Hirelem is working currently working on a project called Project Silver Lining which is aiming at making clouds thicker in order to reflect more light. The goal is to “counteract the temperature increase from Global Warming by increasing the diffuse reflectivity of maritime clouds.” In order to do this, they would need to “increase the albedo of stratocumulus clouds over major oceans to reduce input energy from the sun.”
If this project were successful, it will make a great difference in Earth’s climate. By doing this, less carbon dioxide will be able to enter the Earth since it is reflecting the radiation from the sun. In my opinion this whole idea of messing with the clouds seems bizarre. I don’t think that this approach to reflecting solar radiation is necessary, it seems like it could lead to lots of other complications on Earth. What do you think of Project Silver Lining? Do you believe that this completing this project is possible? How long do you think it will take for this project to be complete?