Geoengineering: Blessing or Curse
Millions of people all over the world argue everyday over the cause of global warming; while most people say warming is caused by humans, others argue it is just the planet following its course and some others say it is not real. Over the past few decades, more people have started to become aware of the issue thanks to groups of activists who are fighting for a solution, but still not much is known about a fix for the problem. This is where scientists come in with their proposed solution, Geoengineering. Considering this problem affects the entire world it is also difficult to understand why there isn't much information for the average person out there and this was the purpose of my research, to find information and then pass it on to anyone interested on the topic. The thought of someone being able to control the weather can be scary, and that is exactly what Geoengineering entails so it is easy to see why not everyone likes this idea, so I decided to embark myself on a journey to try to find what is really behind this practice. I started with a practical question; Is Geoengineering the solution for global warming and is it safe for the planet? Well after finishing my research I came to the conclusion that is not the solution to global warming because it poses risks to human health and the planet itself, its results also show it would not be enough to reduce global temperature due to greenhouse gas emissions rapidly increasing with population growth.
Geoengineering is not something new, it has been around since the 60's and it is simply put the science of controlling weather thru technology. When the conditions of the planet started to worsen due to temperatures rising, scientists started to look at the cause and possible solutions. By studying the effect volcano eruptions have on the atmosphere and realizing they lower temperatures temporarily they started to look at options of replicating the effect, this is when they proposed planting aerosols in the clouds or creating aerosols clouds to reflect rays and radiation from the sun. Fast forward decades later, Geoengineering has gained more popularity between scientists who are working hard trying to solve global warming. There are many different processes being investigated as possible solutions to reduce warming but the most favored until now being spraying aerosols in the atmosphere. However, because we are at a very defining point according to scientists who say if we don't act now there would be nothing left to do to stop the impact higher temperatures will have on the planet it is many people's fear that they won't take into consideration the negative consequences something like this could have on earth's population.
Feeding this fear, are conspiracy theories that say global warming is the lie of some elite people wanting to control the world and every single living creature in it by controlling the weather and so forth a necessary resource, water. A way to accomplish such thing without sparking a revolution would be to pretend they are helping when in reality they are following their agenda according to the theorizers. Providing facts to those who believe these theories is important in order to get my message to them and hopefully get them to participate in finding a solution rather than opposing any idea that could possibly work. In general, any research has to be based on facts and so I collected all my information from the Rio Salado's library where the articles are written by engineers, professors, and scientist themselves and reviewed for veracity as well by others from the same group. Initially it was hard to pick just seven articles because there are so many good ones and my initial searches provided hundreds of results. I picked some of the more interesting titles and then skim thru the articles to find the most helpful for my research. I took most of my articles from Gale because they are very well explained in an easy-to-understand language. These articles come from people who actually conducted field research and tests to determine their conclusions and are qualified and backed by years of studies and learning. Thanks to all the information collected I was able to make three conclusions which I will present below.
First of all, and most importantly Geoengineering can be dangerous to humans and of course every living creature in the planet. The planned method of spraying aerosols into the atmosphere sounds extreme but I can see why someone would consider such option since for years people have known about the warming issue and yet most don't participate in caring for the planet. Recycling for example is not a priority for many and others who do it don't do it correctly, even more frustrating is the fact that recycling companies are only in it if they can make a profit. Unfortunately, comfort is another thing people are not willing to give up, recommendations have been made to for years to save energy since this causes greenhouse gas emissions and instead now there is an increase use of digital devices and moving vehicles specially in first world countries where people can afford such items. Although many factors contribute to global warming another issue is what is being considered to solve it. The current proposed method would be putting millions of tons of toxic aerosols in the air. Things like sulfur dioxide, carbonyl sulfide, black carbon, hydrogen sulfide, multiple types of aluminum and even some specially engineered discs composed of aluminum as well. This mix of metals and sulfides are known to be toxic to humans, aluminum for example is known to cause:
"Wheezing, dyspnea, and impaired lung function, as well as pulmonary fibrosis, have been noted in workers exposed to fine aluminum dust. Dilation and hypertrophy of the right side of the heart have been seen in workers exposed to aluminum powder, as have decreased red blood cell hemoglobin and finger clubbing." (Assessing the direct occupational and public health impacts of solar radiation management with stratospheric aerosols [48-50].)
This is an example of what we know of but then there are other reactions we don't know much about. In the same article it is mentioned that there is limited information on the pharmacokinetics or movement in human body of carbonyl sulfide, with known consequences like vertigo, confusion, vomiting, and diarrhea to name a few one really starts to wonder if the result offsets the cause. But lets for a second assume everything sprayed will stay up in the clouds, there is still the exposure of the workers who would have to transport and ultimately get the aerosols in the atmosphere and their families. As a society we cannot risk lives by not exploring other methods and taking in account the negative consequences possible. Which takes us to my next assumption.
Through my research I also learned that another possible effect of Geoengineering could be the drastic change of temperatures and weather conditions as we know them. Impacted areas that are already struggling are the poles, both North and South, would see an increase in their temperatures which would have an unimaginable impact on the humans and creatures native to the areas. The possible outcome is talked about in "Assessing the direct occupational and public health impacts of solar radiation management with stratospheric aerosols" when is said "In the Southern Hemisphere, winds drive ocean circulation, which in turn could affect uptake of carbon dioxide, and the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet," (O'Gorman). Imagine for a second things suddenly change where you live without providing you with the opportunity to adapt or move out, thousands of lives would be lost if not millions and the effort to help haven't been considered yet but one can only think of the amount of resources that would require and if the example of one of the disasters like Hurricane Katrina or Maria is taken in consideration it is easy to note that one country cannot help fast enough those affected but keep in mind the increase power and impact of such event would be many times bigger. Another area highly impacted according with computerized model studies would be the Middle East countries and North Africa because that's where storms form, "... solar geoengineering would significantly change extratropical storm tracks - the zones in the middle and high latitudes where storms form year-round and are steered by the jet stream across the oceans and land." (Reflecting sunlight to cool the planet will cause other global changes.) because more powerful storms and changes in their regular course can result from the aerosols which would endanger more lives and cause damages to infrastructure that wasn't designed to put up with the type of disaster mega storms would bring with them. In addition, about fifty percent of the world's population lives in storm tracks areas which means millions would be affected by the changes brought by the attempt of fixing and issue when other more manageable methods could be available.
One last assumption I got from my research and would like to talk about is the fact that although Geoengineering is capable of cooling down the planet it won't be enough to stop global warming since it would only be shading the planet from the sun, but it would not get rid of the greenhouse gas emissions from all the vehicles, factories, energy plants and fracking, etc. As per this example it is clear humans do contribute to global warming whether one likes it or not. Searching for a solution puts people on the right track but focusing on other plans that target all the causes and effects of increased temperatures is a better idea that needs to be analyzed and worked on because this current proposed approach lacks that and it has faced challenges since the start, "Since the early days of stratospheric aerosol geoengineering research, it has been criticized for a number of negative side effects, including not addressing ocean acidification, and stratospheric ozone losses from sulfur injections." (Reflecting sunlight to cool the planet will cause other global problems). If only avoiding the impact of the sun is worked on, we still have other problems just as important being ignore while at the same time more problems are being created and more lives are endangered. If the ocean acidification doesn't stop for example, marine life is going to die, and humanity would face then face another problem. There would be shortages of food since a big percentage of the world's population relies on the ocean for food supply or as a source of income to support their families.
In conclusion, Geoengineering is not the solution to global warming because it poses risks to human health and the planet itself, its results also show it would not be enough to reduce global temperature due to greenhouse gas emissions rapidly increasing with population growth and therefore one can conclude that the outcome offsets the little benefit obtained through Geoengineering. One thing is for sure, there is no time left to waste when it comes to finding a solution to stop the increasing temperatures, but we cannot risk the most important and valuable resource earth has, life. After all life is what is trying to be preserved and if it is being destroyed in large quantities by a fail attempt we are better off leaving it alone.
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The entry presentation of your paper is sensationalist in presentation. Since this is an academic paper, sensationalist claims, such as the first 2 sentences in your presentation remove the academic tone of your paper. It is best to use a calm and analytical tone at all times. That will add to the seriousness of your discussion and the perception that your paper is analytical rather than sensational in discussion approach.
Being an academic paper, you cannot use the word "I" or any first person pronoun in the presentation. Always use a general or third person reference to keep the academic nature intact. Try to use less sensationalist examples throughout the essay. There is no sense in trying to scare your readers. You are here to educate and inform, not cause mass panic. While the sensational discussion creates an interesting presentation, it does not allow you to be academic, informative, and calm in your approach, which is the point of these types of papers.
A history of Geoengineering is required for this presentation. You cannot just say it started in the 60's. You have to present a summarized history of the scientific field. Include any accomplishments in this field that we, as a society have already benefited from. That way you can easily show the hope and importance of this scientific field, without having to create a sensation around it.
The purpose of your research and why you consider it important, the thesis statement should not be located so late in the essay. It should be a part of the first paragraph. The way you have written your essay, the importance of the topic and related research comes only after a series of sensationalist presentations. You have to bring the thesis statement and research procedure up. Make it the forefront of the discussion. Otherwise, your paper seems to be covering 2 different topics, when there is only one main topic involved.