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The Most Important Debate Today

Dec 06, 2017


Jennifer Van Cott

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about global climate change and how we can possibly adjust to climate change ourselves, this week I wanted to catch up and talk about a new concept called geoengineering and the ethics around it. For those who are concerned about global climate change will find this information interesting and relevant to this period of time.

Pantry Fuel is concerned about the world surrounding ourselves and our efforts to source locally and operate sustainably is making a difference in the community. We, therefore, find it important to update you on what is occurring as of now in the debate of global climate change. Below is just one proposition to geoengineering that scientists have offered, there are also others that exist.

In the climate change debate there is recent talk of using a technology strategy referred to as geoengineering. Geoengineering is a modern way we can adjust our climate to better suit ourselves, there is a theory that by using these modern technologies we will be able to positively alter our climate. Scientists today have an ability to place a layer of sulfuric acid in our atmosphere, which would protect us from potential global warming by increase the albedo (or whiteness) of the sky, and decreasing the amount of heat that can be withheld by current emissions in our atmosphere. Our current emissions have been enhanced by greenhouse effect and is responsible for a majority of current heating, and by reducing the amount of rays that come into our atmosphere we can change the level of warming. To do this we would need money to use a 25-kilometer long sky hose attached to a blimp, that would spew tones of sulfuric acid into our atmosphere. The acid would act like a cleanser filtering the suns rays, like a “cat’s litter box” protecting us against ultraviolet rays and abnormal heating. Before discussing whether we should make adjustments to alter the natural environment or whether we should not, we should consider the benefits and weaknesses of the given argument to determine if it is in fact worthwhile.

As we read before, global climate change is a growing issue that will affect many households to come, and now we have an opportunity to reduce this effect of climate change by re-engineering our climate. With the technologies of this modern world we have the ability to create a layer of sulfuric acid in our atmosphere, which would increase the albedo, or whiteness of our skies. By decreasing the albedo in our atmosphere, our skies would refract more of the suns rays, thus lessening the amount of heat that can be absorbed in our atmosphere through green house gasses. This technique has the potential to significantly lower the temperature of the atmosphere on a global scale and reduce the future negative implications to come. With this technology we could save millions of lives that would otherwise be affected by global climate change. We will also be able to stop the current warming without having to change our current lifestyles, meaning we would be able to use C2O as an energy source without significantly reducing its output, perhaps helping future economies that are already reliant on these sources. Cold war scientists claim that by 2025 scientists would have the ability to change the climate and “own the weather”, while this might have some underlining truths there are also consequences for these actions.

While there are many benefits of this argument to use geoengineering, in order to better understand these issues, we must fully comprehend both positions of this debate. Taking the adverse positon, there can be a moral argument against this action, while many lives will be saved from offsetting through geoengineering, we would also harm a few thousand (10k) others not originally affected by this issue. There are also different many after affects of having this done, first we will experience larger issues regarding trees that will be rotting due to a huge increase in sulfuric acid[1]. Trees are not used to change in nature, because rain will have more acidity affecting how trees currently grow. Trees are an extremely important product in this natural environment, because having them increases the amount of greenhouse gasses we can sink. Also releasing large amounts of sulfuric acid into the atmosphere would also have affects on existing species and habitats, killing coral reefs and other natural landscapes. This offsetting technique would then be slightly effecting our natural ability to sink some of our greenhouse emissions.

If we truly wish to change the environment we are in, we should be attempting to change our climate by offering solutions that will create long lasting change. Placing sulfuric acid into our atmosphere would help us in the short run, but in the long run we will face issues with having to maintain these higher releases in the future. So, say if we release a few hundred tones into the atmosphere, we would then have to release fifty tones more the next time to adjust for increased emissions. This action would then build on year after year, to more and more dumping of sulfuric acid. So, we must ask ourselves if it is worth partaking, regarding these given factors.

I suggest we only use this technology if there are efforts to blend it in with increase green technologies and self mitigation. If we choose to geoengineer and not change our future path, there will be huge implications for our future, but if we choose to use this while combining green technology we can make this planet better and reduce the future warming in this century. Geoengineering in this case would be a great tool to stop the warming already occurring; allowing us enough time to adjust to the changes with greener technologies and self mitigation strategies implemented. We then have the chance to be well suited and no longer need the sulfuric acid in our atmosphere. Generally speaking, offsetting sounds nice, but it is rarely practical. Even if this can be done, sometimes these things often have side affects never seen before. While we have reached an interesting time, where technologies are rapidly advancing, we continue to be questioned with bigger issues and how we can be solving them.

Global climate change will cost billions of dollars globally, and geoengineering could be a much cheaper solution, but the question here is morals. Morally speaking, even if it is attainable, it usually is not the better way to go. In order to change our world for the better we need to look for long term solutions, rather than temporary cover ups. Much like ourselves, we constantly have many different activities going on in our lives and we can choose to adjust to them as they happen, but it is important to choose the benefits and weigh them against the weaknesses to determine the best route.

Pantry Fuel wants to see the best forward motion to improving our climate, we use containers that are recyclable and source locally to mitigate our emissions as much as possible. Pantry Fuel wants to support the right future for our children and their children after, and by supporting what we do, you are allowing us all a helping hand to accomplish just this. 

Coby, The Intern


[1] Rotman, D. (2016, March 28). Meet the Man with a Cheap and Easy Plan to Stop Global Warming. Retrieved October 27, 2017, from


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