Cooling the Planet

Scientists are also studying new ways to cool the planet, including increasing Earth’s albedo, or its ability to reflect sunlight back into space. Scientists say increasing the planet’s albedo by 1 percent -- by painting roads and roof tops white -- might be enough to halt global warming. Some scientists have even gone as far as proposing to launch thousands of mirrors into Earth orbit to reflect the sun’s rays back into space. In addition one Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Paul Crtuzen, suggests that tiny particles called sulfates can act as a cosmic sunscreen by blocking the sun’s rays from reaching Earth. The key is to pump the atmosphere with tons of these Lilliputian particles.

While some of these ideas might sound off the charts, the underlying principle of stopping global warming is not. Whether it’s turning off a light when leaving a room or building windmills to replace coal-fired power plants, stopping global warming could be a matter of survival.