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How large of an area of the earth's surface would we need to cover in mirrors to negate current levels of global warming?

Let's assume that the reflective component of the mirror is made of aluminium foil and that it is kept clean.

And let's also forget about ocean acidification. I'm only really interested in negating the retained heat component of atmospheric carbon.

This question was initially asked here on physics.stackexchange but was rejected because it "was an engineering question".

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  • $\begingroup$ You are not going to eliminate the green house effect with "mirrors". $\endgroup$ Nov 25 '16 at 19:40
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The idea is not new, but using mirrors on the Earth's surface is a particularly inefficient way to go about it.

A Lagrange-point sunshade is actually much more practical, and the thermal analysis has been worked out in some detail. You basically need to block about 2% of the sun's light currently reaching the Earth.

Beware of unintended consequences!

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