Could the Solution to Global Warming be More Chemicals?

Scientists say 'geoengineering' could be used to cool the sun's rays.

In this March 9, 2011 picture, a boy walks with an umbrella to protect himself from the rain, as dark clouds hover over him in Jammu, India. If Earth overheats, can it be artificially cooled? Should the effort begin now? Who would decide? The very idea of "geoengineering," and the unknown risks of tweaking our climate, left many participants in a March 2011 conference of international experts in Chicheley, England uneasy.
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There's also the risk of going too far: If someone were to "turn down" the sun too much, it could have dire impacts on earth's global climate. That conjures images of movie villains and freeze machines — and to someone motivated enough, maybe they could do it.

"You can imagine some James Bond scenario where an evil scientist says, 'If you don't do what I demand, I'll freeze the planet,'" MacMartin says. "Technically, yes, it's possible to do that. But I guess it's just not something I worry about."

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  • Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at jkoebler@usnews.com.