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Fixing the climate

Technological schemes to combat global warming are viewed as wacky or impractical. But they belong in the mainstream debate on climate change

By Oliver Morton   January 2010

John Latham and Stephen Salter’s idea of spraying up sea salt is one of the proposed schemes that might cool the planet

If you want to know why many people take a dim view of geoengineering—a catch-all term for technological interventions to cool the climate system—look no further than Richard Branson. In October, Branson told the Wall Street Journal that “if we could come up with a geoengineering answer… then Copenhagen wouldn’t be necessary. We could carry on flying our planes and driving our cars.” But the idea that such schemes—for example, giant mirrors in space, artificially-brightened clouds or vast…

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