"Our civilization is in danger of collapsing because of the inexorable advance of climate change."
George Soros, a Hungarian-American businessman and philanthropist has said at the 2023 Munich Security Conference.
Mr Soros urged world leaders to use weather controlling technology to refreeze the arctic. He states that his message is important as we are dangerously close to breaching the 1.5-degree limit set in the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The businessman, who is known for breaking the Bank of England in 1990s, endorsed Sir David King, a former UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor, who has a plan to repair the climate system by controlling the weather.
What is the albedo effect?
In simple terms the albedo effect is an expression of the ability of a surface to reflect and absorb light. The more light reflected the higher the albedo and therefore the less light absorbed. Lighter colours have a higher albedo compared to darker colours. Think about wearing a dark coloured t-shirt, when you step out into the sun you can start to feel the heat more than if you were wearing light coloured one. This is the result of the albedo effect, and it happens to the earth’s surface, not just your t-shirt.
As the earth warms due to global warming, Ice melts and reduces the albedo of the earth’s surface, especially in the Arctic Ocean, as the melted ice can no longer reflect the sunlight off the earth’s surface. As the albedo decreases the earth absorbs more heat from the sun and causes further warming of our planet, which leads to the devastating effects of climate change. However, if we find a way to reverse this and increase the earths albedo, we can reflect more sunlight away from the earth’s surface and help prevent any further increase in temperature.
What is the plan?
Sir David wants to recreate the albedo effect by creating white clouds high above the earth. The idea is that by expanding and brightening the clouds above the Arctic Ocean we can reflect more sunlight and increase the albedo in that region. Therefore, reducing the temperature which will allow the ice to refreeze. This project could help re-stabilize the Arctic climate system which governs the entire global climate system.
If we succeed in refreezing the Earth’s poles, we could correct the wild weather patterns, slow down ice-melt, stabilise sea level, and break the feedback loops that accelerate global warming. This will “buy us time” while we work on reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses we release into the atmosphere.
What can we do?
Mr Soros said it right “human interference has destroyed a previously stable system and human ingenuity, both local and international, will be needed to restore it.” Although it was not you personally destroying the planet, we all play a role in fixing it. There are many small ways you can help for example, by just being more mindful of your consumption habits and wearing more clothes indoors to stay warm (this can also help cut your energy bills).
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
And maybe the science can help along the way.