How It Works

Image Credit: NASA

The Problem

Thermal stress due to climate change is the dominant and most urgent threat in the next decades. Current levels of accumulated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is sufficient to induce a global average surface temperature rise between 1.8 to 3.7 degrees Celsius with greater than 90% confidence based on the most recent estimate of the Earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity. Existing technologies, constrained by fundamental laws of thermodynamics, would take on the order of at least a century to capture back enough CO2 to stay within safe levels when implemented at scale. It is thus statistically improbable to meet the goals set by the 2015 Paris Agreement based on greenhouse gas emission reduction or capture.

100% Renewable Energies Starting Today is Not Enough

The loss of anthropocentric aerosols concurrent with a switch from fossil fuel energies will induce an additional global temperature rise on the order of 1 to 2 degrees Celsius. Reduced rate of CO2 emissions due to infrastructure maintenance for existing renewable options would be of little use for preventing a temperature rise beyond 3 degrees Celsius with respect to pre-industrial levels. The accompanying graph on the left plots future trajectories of the Earth in the CO2 temperature plane for hypothetical scenarios, each of which assumes that the global total consumption of energy comes from one particular technology.

The Solution

Sunlight is the central source powering our ecosystems on Earth and mirrors are versatile tools that enables manipulation of this resource for various uses. Unlike traditional geoengineering, the MEER:ReflEction framework is multi-pronged and rooted in the ecological functioning and resource availability of the planet. It is thus unsurprising that we have been able to design a coherent framework that would simultaneously solve the major, imminent threats to our civilization and ecosystems. The problems that we can solve include: planetary overheating, arctic methane release, decreasing food production, slow renewable energy transition, and ecological degradation.

Project MEER:ReflEction aims to implement durable, scalable glass-mirror based infrastructures to reflect sunlight out of the Earth's atmosphere to cool the climate keeping it within livable ranges. Project MEER:ReflEction's mirror structures will reflect sunlight as well as generate electricity by concentrating some reflected sunlight with unique solar panels.