Monday, December 3rd 2012, 5:16 AM EST
DOHA (Reuters) - Cheap, short-cut ideas to cool the planet such as shading sunlight are failing to win support from U.N. delegates looking to improve on the slow progress made by existing technologies.
Many scientists say the proposed solutions, known as geo-engineering, are little understood and might have side effects more damaging than global warming, which is projected to cause more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.
Let's first use what we know," said Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, dismissing suggestions that it was time to try geo-engineering to halt a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.
"There are so many proven technologies we know exist that are tried and true that have not been used to their maximum potential," she told Reuters. "To begin with, the simplest is energy efficiency."
Geo-engineering options include adding sun-reflecting chemicals to the upper atmosphere to mimic the effect of big volcanic eruptions that mask the sun, or fertilizing the oceans to promote the growth of algae that soak up carbon from the air.
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