'Spraying chemicals into the atmosphere to block sunlight could cut global temperature increases in half without any dangerous repercussions, Harvard scientists have suggested.
Solar geoengineering has long been floated as a potential method to tackle global warming, but many are concerned about its potential for unwanted side-effects.
Liberally spraying aerosols into the air could even exacerbate climate problems by tampering with rainfall in some regions.
But with rising concern about the devastating impact of climate change, experiments are already in the works to establish how effective such techniques could be.
In a new study, a research team used computer models in an attempt to gauge the perfect “dose” of geoengineering that would slow warming without making things worse.
While the scientists acknowledged there were still many uncertainties surrounding this dramatic intervention, they suggested that overall it could yield significant benefits.
“The analogy is not perfect but solar geoengineering is a little like a drug which treats high blood pressure,” said Dr Peter Irvine, who led the study.
“An overdose would be harmful, but a well-chosen dose could reduce your risks.”
While Dr Irvine noted that it would be “better to not have high blood pressure in the first place”, once the problem was underway he said it was definitely worth considering the options.
Experts have warned that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, annual greenhouse gas emissions must halve between now and 2030 – a target the world is not on track to hit.
Read more: Spray sun-blocking chemicals into atmosphere to cut global temperature rise in half, scientists say
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