New research shows that a method that reflects sunlight back into space and can slow global warming would cause an increase in the number of mosquitoes that spread malaria.
Geoengineering to prevent the worst effects of climate change could increase the number of people exposed to malaria by up to a billion, scientists said, saying that artificial changes in Earth’s climate could have a significant impact on the spread of diseases such as Anopheles mosquitoes. .
This is how geoengineering works
The publication, published in Nature Communications, is the first assessment to examine the potential impact of geoengineering on the spread of infectious diseases. Geoengineering aims, on the one hand, to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and on the other hand, to reflect sunlight so that the planet absorbs less heat. One of the methods of the latter is to release particles into the atmosphere that reflect solar radiation.
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The study, described by The Guardian, looked at the effect of stratospheric reflective aerosols in the stratosphere. The article states that the method of inverting solar radiation is often talked about as a means of reducing climatic injustice, but its potential effects on health have rarely been studied.
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In the research, scientists model the spread of malaria under two future scenarios, with moderate to significant global warming, with and without geoengineering. Models were used to determine which temperatures contribute most to the growth of malaria mosquitoes and to calculate the number of people living in mosquito-affected areas.
It has been found that high temperatures in some areas kill the malaria pathogen, but rapid cooling of the area can reverse this deterioration that can lead to the spread of the disease. A warming scenario puts an additional billion people at risk of contracting malaria through geoengineering.
Development can save lives, but it can also have negative effects
Colin Carlson, assistant professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine and lead author of the study, said their findings could play an important role in decision-making. Geoengineering can save lives, but some countries may be at a disadvantage. According to Carlson, if geoengineering is to protect populations at the forefront of climate change, its risks and benefits must be weighed, for example, in terms of mosquito-borne diseases.
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According to the study, geoengineering may reduce the incidence of malaria in some places while increasing it in others. For both scenarios, the authors found that geoengineering could significantly reduce the risk of malaria in the Indian subcontinent even compared to the current situation, but that the risk would increase in Southeast Asia. If the planet is too hot for humans, it is too hot for the malaria parasite. Carlson concluded that cooling the planet in an emergency could save lives, but it would also reverse the decline of malaria.
In 80 years, Earth might be a completely different place from what we know now
Already in this century, the Earth will be a more dangerous and less livable place as a result of global warming.
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