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The scientists who want to reverse global warming

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The New Yorker profiles scientists with plans to ameliorate the effects of climate change, as well as the reactions to their work.

Blue Marble 2012
Blue Marble 2012

Despite the continuing political controversy over anthropogenic climate change, scientists worldwide have been working quietly on plans to ameliorate its worst possible effects. The New Yorker has profiled a number of groups with strategies that range from partially deflecting sunlight to removing carbon from the air. Although many show promise, most will be only partially effective, and the risks can be significant. One group compares its idea — pumping particles of reflective chemicals into the stratosphere — to chemotherapy, saying that "if we have to use these tools, it means something on this planet has gone seriously wrong." Some activists have even said that making such last-ditch plans is irresponsible, arguing that it will decrease the incentive to limit emissions. The chief scientist of Greenpeace UK, for example, called such discussions "an expression of political despair." If significant climate change occurs soon, though, political despair may be far preferable to ecological disaster.