Category: climate science

Ask Ethan: Could We Just Build A ‘Space Sunshade’ To Counteract Global Warming?

“[A]s a fan of terraforming options in the solar system, especially Mars, I thought that I would leverage my knowledge to assuage the fears of innocents. In this case, I thought to myself “If global warming is such a critical issue, why don’t we do something ‘cheap’ and ‘simple’ like building a solar shade at a Lagrange point?"”

If you want to deal with all of our climate change issues, going beyond global warming and including things like ocean acidification, we’ll truly need to address the changing contents of our atmosphere and our continued burning of fossil fuels. But if all we truly cared about was reducing the temperature effects of global warming, perhaps we don’t need to reduce our greenhouse gas use at all. Perhaps we don’t even need to resort to potentially Earth-changing geoengineering solutions; perhaps we could simply launch what’s known as a Space Sunshade and block out a fraction of the Sun’s light before it ever arrived here at Earth.

Believe it or not, as launch costs decrease and new orbit-sustaining propulsion technologies come into being, this might be the cheapest and safest way to fight global warming. Here’s the science for the curious.

There’s No Science Behind Denying Climate Change

“Indeed, if there were a conspiracy, if climate science were a hoax, and if all this research were incorrect, all it would take was one scrupulous, competent scientist. But every scrupulous, competent scientist that investigates it has come to the same conclusion: it’s real, it’s warming, and it’s our CO2 that’s doing it. You are free to deny climate change if you want, but there’s no scientific leg to stand on if you do.”

It only makes sense that scientists should debate and argue over the findings in their field. Given all the suites of data available that are relevant to a particular physical phenomenon, how do we put it together in a way that is scientifically robust, allow us to understand and predict what’s happening, and justifiably attribute the causes of observed phenomena? It’s a daunting task, and one that you need science for. So when it comes to global warming, why aren’t the arguments about the temperature and atmospheric concentrations of gases over time? Why are they instead about scientific personalities, profitability, conspiracies and hacked emails? Why, instead, aren’t those opposing the science of human-caused climate change pointing to data and scientific arguments?

After all, the only thing it would take to overturn anthropogenic climate change was one compelling scientific argument. Learn why, if you value scientific thinking, it’s incompatible with climate change denial.