There is no single “solution” to end climate change and reverse global warming. Ideally, we need to rethink global goals, we need to move past sustainability, towards regeneration and along the way reverse global warming. We need to change the way we do business from a system that is inherently exploitative and extractive to a new standard that is regenerative and restorative, specifically in the ways we get our energy. However, we have caused enough damage that even if we stopped all pollution, we would be facing the effects of our pollution for decades to come unless we do something
Geoengineering is the large-scale modification of the Earth’s systems to address and mitigate climate change. From cooling the atmosphere with sulfur aerosol injections to sucking carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere, there have been a number of proposed technologies that could theoretically alter our climate system and slow down or reverse global temperature increases. These theoretical strategies may pose both benefits and risks, which is why they have been just that—theoretical. But as risky as it may be, the situation we have put ourselves in is so dire that crazy options such as replicating volcanic explosions are being considered necessary strategies moving forward to undo the immense, humanity threatening damage we have and continue to cause.
Presently there are two categories of geoengineering for climate mitigation and carbon emissions, each with their own unique regulatory concerns. The first is carbon removal using carbon-capture technology. The geologic security or permanence of underground carbon dioxide storage over time also has not been well studied. Acidification effects of carbon dioxide as well as cracks, faults, natural springs, and old wells could allow dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide to escape into ground water posing a threat to our environment and public health. Implementing such technologies on a large scale, like carbon sequestration, requires large amounts of natural resources which is why the governance of this technology would most likely be controlled by national governments. The second category, solar geoengineering, holds regulatory concerns for the international community since they present a risk of unintended global climate consequences. The common proposed strategies involve spraying reflective aerosols into the atmosphere, where they would theoretically reflect sunlight away from the Earth thus cooling our atmosphere.
Geoengineering has never been implemented on the full scale, raising uncertainty about the price, efficiency and unforeseen impacts of these strategies. Yes, these innovative technologies pose risks of negative impacts to the ozone layer, regional precipitation patterns, ecosystems, agriculture; but it is important to keep investing into further research into these technologies. Currently, there are many geoengineering projects being conducted, as many as 500. One project that I think has immense potential is Project Stormfury, a hurricane research and modification research program that weakens tropical cyclones by seeding them with silver iodide. Both deaths and damages to the storms targeted by Project Stormfury were reduced substantially, because the wind speeds decreased before making landfall. As hurricanes and weather related disasters are predicted to be more damanging and intense, I think more programs like Project Stormfury will be implemented.
Due to the nature of these technologies, there are also challenges associated to international governance and the risk of international conflict. Still, if the cost of implementation is low and the efficacy of mitigation is high, then geoengineering may be a vital piece of a climate change risk management portfolio that keeps climate change impacts below dangerous levels. Discussing the aforementioned risks, and having a plan in place to manage them, are the next steps moving forward in developing and implementing geoengineering technologies.
Reaching an agreement on implementing these technologies will take time and international cooperation. Time is running out. Given the current economic, political, social problems we have today, it sounds unmanageable, but today’s science and society already knows what to do. We have existent, practical technologies and processes that can attain this. And best of all these solutions are already happening – they work – on small and large scales. What we need is to accelerate implementation and to change the discourse from one of panic and perplexity, which only leads to apathy, to one of understanding and opportunity.
“What Is Geoengineering?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 18 Feb. 2011, www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/feb/18/geo-engineering.
 G Little, Mark & B Jackson, Robert. (2010). Potential Impacts of Leakage from Deep CO2 Geosequestration on Overlying Freshwater Aquifers. Environmental science & technology. 44. 9225-32. 10.1021/es102235w.
“Geoengineering.” Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program, Harvard, 2019, geoengineering.environment.harvard.edu/geoengineering.
“The Geoengineering Genie Is Out of the Bottle.” 21st Century Tech Blog, 7 Sept. 2018, www.21stcentech.com/geoengineering-genie-bottle/.
 Jr, James Franklin Lee. “Hurricane Hacking: Battling the Big Ones with Project Stormfury · ClimateViewer News.” Hurricane Hacking: Battling the Big Ones with Project Stormfury ·, 8 Nov. 2013, climateviewer.com/2013/11/08/hurricane-hacking-battling-the-big-ones-with-project-stormfury/.
 “Project STORMFURY.” Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories, www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/hrd_sub/sfury.html.