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Climate change ideas

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Delhi
  • Published 27.07.09
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New Delhi, July 27: India should urgently study various ideas of geo-engineering proposed by the scientific community to counter the effects of climate change, former space department chairman K. Kasturirangan said today.

Research groups in the US and Europe have proposed a number of ideas, including injecting aerosols in the atmosphere, fertilising the oceans with iron, and erecting a sunshade to block sunlight falling on the earth.

“We need to study the implications of these ideas and understand the costs and the ethical aspects of some of these options on tropical countries,” Kasturirangan said.

The concepts involve gigantic engineering feats to either mop up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or to check the rising temperatures. Aerosols injected high into the upper atmosphere, for instance, are intended to reduce the amount of sunlight. But the long-term effects of such ideas are not clear. Some studies have shown that aerosols can reduce the monsoon rainfall over India.

Kasturirangan said the three Indian science academies could set up a study group which could examine the geo-engineering options that have been tested or are still ideas on paper.

“Such a group could also do some limited, controlled experiments,” he said. Kasturirangan said the aim of the study would be to help India stay informed and prepared about likely consequences of such geo-engineering projects — should they become a reality.

“Global temperatures are rising faster than expected ... when things become urgent, there may be a sense of desperation and there may not be time available when to conduct such a study,” he said. Among the proposals under discussion are space mirrors and stimulation of white clouds to reflect sunlight.