Climate engineering

Deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Climate engineering (also called geoengineering) is a term used for both carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management, also called solar geoengineering, when applied at a planetary scale.[1]:6–11 However, they have very different geophysical characteristics which is why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change no longer uses this overarching term.[1]:6–11[2] Carbon dioxide removal approaches are part of climate change mitigation. Solar geoengineering involves reflecting some sunlight (solar radiation) back to space.[3] All forms of geoengineering are not a standalone solution to climate change, but need to be coupled with other forms of climate change mitigation.[4] Another approach to geoengineering is to increase the Earth's thermal emittance through passive radiative cooling.[5][6][7]

Carbon dioxide removal is defined as "Anthropogenic activities removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and durably storing it in geological, terrestrial, or ocean reservoirs, or in products. It includes existing and potential anthropogenic enhancement of biological or geochemical CO2 sinks and direct air carbon dioxide capture and storage, but excludes natural CO2 uptake not directly caused by human activities."[2]

Some types of climate engineering are highly controversial due to the large uncertainties around effectiveness, side effects and unforeseen consequences.[8] However, the risks of such interventions must be seen in the context of the trajectory of climate change without them.[9][10]