Planting fake trees, setting up mirrors in space and pumping iron into the oceans could be new tools in the battle against climate change.
Scientists and policymakers gathered in Wellington last month for a workshop on geo-engineering as work steps up around the world on trialling techniques such as fertilising the oceans or pumping aerosols into the atmosphere.
At least one approach has been made to New Zealand by a United States company seeking permission to test fertilising part of the Southern Ocean with iron in a bid to gain carbon credits.
No international rules or policies exist to control such activities, and New Zealand scientists are urging caution.
The workshop was hosted by the Royal Society of New Zealand, and organised by Philip Boyd, principal scientist at the Otago University and Niwa Centre of Chemical and Physical Oceanography, who said nothing had come from the US company’s scoping mission.
However, he warned that though overseas businesses were promoting geo-engineering “as the next dotcom”, not enough research had been done into possible side-effects for large-scale projects to be launched.