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Government urged to consider geo-engineering

Regulation work on large-scale climate control projects such as sky mirrors and cloud seeding should start sooner rather than later, MPs have said.

The Science and Technology Committee claimed there was “no sound reason” not to get the ball rolling on so-called “geo-engineering” and urged the Government to liaise with the UN on the issue as soon as possible.

A failure to regulate the scheme could mean less time to plan and counteract the effects of global warming, the committee added.

The group said geo-engineering, small-scale testing of which is already under way, was an important “plan B” to combat climate change if global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions floundered.

The committee urged the Government to push the idea up the international agenda and stimulate work on looking at ways to regulate technology, suggesting that different schemes should be “graded” according to their impact on, for example, ecosystems. Regulatory regimes could then be tailored based on this.

Committee chairman Phil Willis said: “There is no sound reason not to begin the groundwork for regulatory arrangements immediately.”

Potential projects under consideration include putting particles into the stratosphere, setting up thousands of mirrors to reflect sunlight, seeding clouds, large-scale tree planting schemes and painting all roofs white.

Advocates of the idea admit that while the schemes could fight dangerous temperature rises and modify weather patterns, they could do little or nothing to prevent rising levels of carbon dioxide and ocean acidity.

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