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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cloud Ships: Who Knows If This Would Work, but We Have To Do It Because It's Beautiful

Cloud ships on course to beat climate change, says Copenhagen study - Times Online
They sound like ideas from a Jules Verne novel, but giant engineering schemes designed to alter the climate offer the cheapest way of avoiding catastrophic global warming, according to a growing number of scientists and green-minded entrepreneurs.

Most of the schemes have been dismissed as impossibly expensive or impractical, such as the proposal to create a space sunshade by using rockets to deploy millions of mirrors in the stratosphere.

One relatively cheap solution, however, is gaining favour among many different groups and is endorsed today by an independent study that compares the costs and benefits of all the main ideas. A wind-powered fleet of 1,900 ships would criss-cross the oceans, sucking up sea water and spraying it from the top of tall funnels to create vast white clouds.

These clouds would reflect a tiny proportion, between 1 and 2 per cent, of the sunlight that would otherwise warm the ocean. This would be enough to cancel out the greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide emissions. The ships would be unmanned and directed by satellite to locations with the best conditions for increasing cloud cover. They would mainly operate in the Pacific, far enough from land to avoid interfering with rainfall.

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