Our English lesson today has to do with climate change and science. Our topic is ‘Solar Geoengineering’, which is one of the solutions that some climate scientists are recommending as a partial solution to the problem of global warming.

Here are the words you will be learning today to help you talk about the issue yourself.

  • Aerosol
  • Stratosphere
  • Drought
  • To buy time
  • Complacency

 

Here is what the words mean.

  • Aerosol: A suspension of very small solid particles or liquid droplets in the air.
  • Stratosphere: The stratosphere is the second layer of the atmosphere of the Earth.
  • Drought: A prolonged period of unusually low rainfall that leads to a shortage of water.
  • To buy time: To delay an event temporarily to have more time to make improvements.
  • Complacency: An attitude of not caring, or not worrying. If you are complacent, you don’t take action.

 

READING PRACTICE

What is solar geoengineering? Well, solar geoengineering is a type of climate engineering in which sunlight would be reflected back to space to limit, and even reverse human-caused climate change.

How does solar geoengineering work? Well, there are a few different proposals, but one of the most widely studied methods includes having fleets of airplanes or balloons spray aerosols into the stratosphere. According to science, these particles would reflect sunlight back into space, and the earth would cool.

But, since applying solar geoengineering techniques literally changes the climate, the proposal seems marvelous and scary at the same time. That is because even though solar geoengineering can cool the planet down, it can also affect the weather and cause rain and drought, and this can affect one country more than another. For now, these outcomes are very difficult to predict, so as you can imagine, solar geoengineering is a controversial topic.

Experts stress solar geoengineering is only a partial solution that will let society buy time, but it is not a complete solution because it does not remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Climate scientists worry that once we manage to begin cooling the planet with this technology, governments might become complacent and they would slow their efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses. Experts argue that we need to reduce the amount of fossil fuels we burn, not just because this creates greenhouse gasses that warm our planet,  but because we are also damaging the quality of the air we breathe and the health of our oceans.

There is no doubt that climate change is a global problem that requires international agreement and solutions, and the application of solar geoengineering does, too. But, because warming from greenhouse gases and potential cooling from solar geoengineering operate differently across countries, that is going to make international regulation difficult.

 

Here is the vocabulary one last time:

 

  • Aerosol: A suspension of very small solid particles or liquid droplets in the air.
  • Stratosphere: The stratosphere is the second layer of the atmosphere of the Earth.
  • Drought: A prolonged period of unusually low rainfall that leads to a shortage of water.
  • To buy time: To delay an event temporarily to have more time to make improvements.
  • Complacency: An attitude of not caring, or not worrying. If you are complacent, you don’t take action.

 

Until next time!

 

-Alan Robert

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