Kelly Wanser: Emergency medicine for our climate fever
Kelly Wanser helps study and invent global-scale technological interventions that could save humanity from the worst effects of climate change. Full bio
Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.
important that may be new to you.
an unintentional experiment
to lower their sulfur emissions
in the emission of ships
of the United States.
are created by the exhaust from ships.
both greenhouse gases,
that mix with clouds
more sunlight back to space,
two unintentional experiments
the concentration of greenhouse gases
in the human body.
its effects are mild,
damage grows more severe
a layer of particles
from some of this warming.
in ocean clouds like these,
of sulfur emissions from ships next year
in global warming.
that brighten clouds:
cooling effect from emission particles,
when they're in the climate,
we've experienced up until now.
around this effect,
why we have difficulty predicting climate,
as emissions fall.
are currently cooling the planet
into the atmosphere at massive scale.
and we're doing it accidentally.
a fast-acting way to reduce warming,
for our climate fever if we needed it,
with origins in nature.
of earth's atmosphere,
moving over the planet.
reflecting from particles in clouds,
is one of the primary ways
cool enough for humans
for rapidly cooling climate.
things like mirrors in space,
plastic sheets on the Arctic,
that the most viable approaches
this atmospheric reflectivity.
just one or two percent more sunlight
or more of warming.
not a scientist.
concerned about climate,
potential countermeasures to warming.
Cloud Brightening Project,
SilverLining, where I am today.
atmospheric scientist John Latham,
the way that the ships do,
of susceptible clouds over the ocean.
by the name I gave it then,
that by deploying marine cloud brightening
of susceptible ocean clouds,
as much as two degrees Celsius's warming.
to brighten clouds in local regions
by warming ocean surface temperatures.
such as the Gulf Atlantic
before a hurricane season
flowing onto coral reefs
is not the only way
of the sunlight from the atmosphere.
release material with enough force
of the atmosphere, the stratosphere.
into the stratosphere,
with the atmosphere to reflect sunlight.
and circulated around the planet.
by over half a degree Celsius
in Arctic ice cover in 1992,
as the particles fell back to earth.
led Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen
particles into the stratosphere
a way to counter global warming.
that we don't understand,
heating up the stratosphere
safe approaches to this,
for Atmospheric Research
earth surface temperatures through 2100.
our current trajectory,
are introduced into the stratosphere
near those of today,
well over three degrees.
between a safe and an unsafe world.
that this could be close to reality,
we should consider seriously?
is extremely limited.
of interventions are even feasible,
some basic questions
whether or not these might be real options
of studying the climate system,
to forecast changes,
develop core technologies
proposing experiments like this.
would release very small amounts
into the stratosphere with a balloon,
in one minute of flight
a fine mist of salt water into clouds
this would culminate in experiments
an area of clouds over the ocean.
is the first to develop any technology
sunlight reflection in this way.
very tiny particles --
out of an asthma inhaler --
of looking up at a cloud.
particles per second,
of retired engineers in Silicon Valley --
without pay, for their grandchildren.
and another year or two
they need to do these experiments.
research efforts are emerging,
at Beijing Normal University in China,
at Cambridge University in the UK
in global South countries
of these sunlight interventions
including the experimental ones,
these interventions is a hard problem.
in climate models, observations
much better than we can today
and any intentional interventions.
predict that in the next few decades,
for hundreds of millions of people.
where warming takes over
in natural systems.
on Climate Change predicts
and even reverse emissions by 2050.
transform major economic sectors,
agriculture, transportation and others.
as fast as we can.
we also have to remove
from the atmosphere,
all of the world's annual emissions,
to a fast-moving problem.
in the next 10 to 30 years
provide fast-acting medicine if we need it
while we address its underlying causes?
that even researching these interventions
to reduce emissions.
the more that you do,
tends to draw out the fact
positively cannot continue
with greenhouse gases,
as little as possible.
about these interventions
about when and how to intervene?
is that as climate impacts worsen,
by any means available.
without real information
a decade of research
to develop or use them.
in these interventions
to have real information
these kinds of problems before.
an existential threat
politicians and industry
the chemicals causing the problem.
legally binding environmental agreement
of the ozone layer
environmental protection effort
to develop and agree on solutions
and remove CO2.
for this kind of emergency medicine.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERKelly Wanser - Climate innovation activist
Kelly Wanser helps study and invent global-scale technological interventions that could save humanity from the worst effects of climate change.
Why you should listen
Kelly Wanser is founder and executive director of SilverLining, a nonprofit organization driving policy and innovation to ensure a safe climate within a decade. SilverLining focuses on near-term climate risk and advancing our understanding of fast-acting climate interventions (sometimes called "geoengineering") that might alleviate the most severe impacts.
Wanser is cofounder and advisor to the University of Washington Marine Cloud Brightening Project, an effort to understand one possible form of climate intervention: the cooling effects of particles on clouds. Wanser also serves on the board of BioCarbon Engineering -- a company using data and automation (including drone technology) to restore native ecosystems -- and on the President's Circle of the US National Academy of Sciences.
Kelly Wanser | Speaker | TED.com