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Rebecca Zisser / Axios

In the face of rising global temperatures, deploying technologies to change Earth's climate has gone from thought experiment to reality. We already capture carbon and store it underground. Now some researchers are suggesting we should spray the clouds with particles to reflect sunlight, fertilize the oceans to promote carbon-absorbing plankton growth, or build a gigantic shade that orbits Earth and opens as needed to shield the planet from the sun. Welcome to the Anthropocene — the era of humans engineering the world in unprecedented ways.

What do we need to know before someone pushes start on a large-scale geoengineering attempt? And what Earth-altering experiment should we try first?

Five leading researchers answered those questions and gave us their take on the risks, as well as the thorny ethical and legal issues that come with unleashing a technology that could span countries, cultures, and generations.

Go deeper

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.