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During a year marked by startlingly unsettled weather, the world's leaders – preoccupied as they are by economic storms – have had conspicuously little to say about global warming. Indeed, when the Kyoto Protocol, once touted as the big climate fix, expires next year, will anyone notice?

In the absence of meaningful international progress on a workable emissions-reduction strategy, some climate experts have begun to ponder more radical Plan B solutions designed to prevent a torrid future filled with fierce hurricanes, vanishing glaciers and flooded lowlands.

These “geo-engineering” technologies, some seemingly plucked from the realm of science fiction, propose techniques to artificially...

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