London, Jan 11 (IANS) The chilling possibility of a rogue nation using climate change to carry out disastrous geoengineering to modify or minimise its impact could not be ruled out, warn experts.
A country -- or even a single wealthy individual -- threatened by rising sea levels could use resources to tamper with nature in a bid to cool the planet, with highly unpredictable outcomes, warn experts accoring to a report in Daily Mail.
The nightmare possibility is one possible 'X Factor' considered in a report on global risks by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
"The global climate could, in effect, be hijacked by a rogue country or even a wealthy individual, with unpredictable costs to agriculture, infrastructure and global stability," the report warns.
Scientists worried about climate change are exploring ways in which they could artificially manipulate the Earth's climate in an attempt to mitigate some of its worst effects, the Daily Mail reports.
Many different processes have been mooted for such geoengineering, but the most common suggestion is for 'solar radiation management' in which particles of sulphur could be injected into the stratosphere to block solar energy.
Recent studies have suggested that a small fleet of aircraft could inject a million tonnes of sulphur compounds into the stratosphere -- enough to offset half the global warming recorded to date -- for just $1-2 billion a year.
"The problem is that incoming solar radiation drives the entire climate system, so reducing sunlight would fundamentally alter the way energy and water moves around the planet," said the report, brought out in collaboration with the scientific journal, Nature.
"In theory, the technology would be tantamount to a planetary thermostat, giving humans direct control over global temperature. The direct impact of dimming the sun would be felt within weeks to months," added the WEF report.
But the potential side effects of such large-scale interference with our planet's climate systems are unknown -- and could be disastrous.
The warning came in a special section of the WEF's Global Risks report published on Tuesday which focuses on 'X Factors' -- emerging concerns of possible future importance and with unknown consequences.