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ST Podcast: Can geoengineering reduce global warming?, Environment News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Green Pulse Ep 7: Geoengineering: Can modifying the climate stop climate change?

12:50 mins

Synopsis: In this new podcast series for 2019, The Straits Times dives into all things green, blue and brown. Green Pulse analyses the beat of the changing environment, from biodiversity conservation to climate change.

This month, ST’s environment correspondent Audrey Tan chats with Dr Corey Gabriel, a climate scientist from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, on geoengineering – the act of modifying Earth’s natural systems to reduce the effects of global warming.

There are two main types of geoengineering strategies. The first is to increase the reflectivity of the Earth, so that the Sun’s radiation is reflected back into space.

This is known as the albedo effect, and scientists think some ways this can be done is by making marine clouds brighter or by injecting reflective particles in the stratosphere.

The second is through a process of carbon dioxide removal, where heat-trapping carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere through processes such as ocean fertilisation.

Under this scenario, iron is added to the ocean to help photosynthetic organisms called phytoplankton grow better. The theory is that more phytoplankton in the ocean would increase the drawdown of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, since these organisms require carbon dioxide to photosynthesise.

To date, geoengineering has remained largely theoretical, and is clouded by many uncertainties. It is also a thorny issue that some feel detracts attention away from climate change mitigation, or the need to drastically cut emissions from fossil fuels.

Hear Dr Gabriel talk about the types of geoengineering strategies and their surrounding controversies, and what these could mean for the global climate change debate.

Produced by: Audrey Tan (

Follow Audrey Tan on Twitter

Edited by: Adam Azlee

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