PRINT November 2008


AS THE EARTH HEATS UP, it is inevitable that solutions will be sought in the application of engineering at a scale commensurate with the scope of the problem—a planetary rappel à l’ordre to be achieved by the mechanization of the geobiosphere. The popular press teems with reports of geoengineering proposals aimed at combating global warming. NASA is studying the feasibility of retuning the thermodynamic properties of the atmosphere by seeding its upper reaches with nanoscale particles. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts propose flooding the oceans with iron to force algae blooms that will suck up excess carbon dioxide like cheap paper towels. The Bush administration is urging researchers to design a flotilla of mirrored satellites to reflect now-inconvenient solar radiation back into space, while engineers at Columbia University envision vast forests

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