We all know Bill Nye is not shy about sharing his opinions on controversial subjects, and his views on climate change are no different. In an interview with National Geographic a couple of weeks ago he discussed a type of engineering that could have the potential to combat climate change in a major way.
So what is this engineering practice that has one of the greatest minds in science convinced we can reverse climate change? It’s called geoengineering, a relatively new field of research dedicated to bringing down Earths temperatures in a number of different ways. The one technique that has Nye talking involves bubbling air into bodies of water. “All of those bubbles would make the puddles more reflective, shunting sunlight away from Earth and back into space. Over many years, this could cool down the planet” (Julia Calderone, Tech Insider). Since water temperatures are at an all-time high, this seems like the most feasible option in the near future and could even cool our planet by 3 degrees Celsius! While that doesn’t sound like much, this 3 degrees difference could lead to potentially more stable weather patterns and less wildfires.
Sounds like we have a solution right? Not so fast. While geoengineering could dramatically save our climate, it could have some detrimental side effects that can not be ignored. Richard Black from BBC News goes into further detail about the risks and benefits of geoengineering and states that while as a whole it tackles the temperature issue, other problems that are attributed to global warming, such as acidic oceans, would still be prevalent.
The verdict? While it seems like big names such as Bill Nye are intrigued with the idea of geoengineering, there definitely needs to be more research conducted as to whether these are practices that will be able to be maintained long-term and if the risks outweigh the benefits. “[I]t’s the kind of idea I want people to at least think about because we’re going to need that kind of ‘blue sky’ thinking in the future,” Nye told National Geographic, “where humankind controls the temperature of the world in these subtle, global ways” (Tech Insider).