Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Geoengineering and the Climate Fight

Sunday, March 8th, 2009


One of the biggest challenges in fighting global warming is getting countries to act. One of the biggest risks may be that countries do act—with unilateral geoengineering schemes to stave off climate change.

Geoengineering, the idea of raising giant sunshades or seeding the atmosphere with sun-blocking particulates, is taking a lot of heat lately. New scientific research suggests the potential benefits from geoengineering may be wildly overstated, or a very short-term solution at best. Eminent climate-change types like Ralph Cicerone, the president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, doubts it will ever be a climate-change solution.

The problem is that nobody really knows for sure. As Foreign Affairs notes this month (sub reqd.), geoengineering as a dicipline is still well outside the mainstream: “Nearly the entire community of geoengineering scientists could fit comfortably in a single university seminar room, and the entire scientific literature on the subject could be read during the course of a transatlantic flight.”

Bringing geoengineering “out of the closet,” Foreign Affairs suggests, should be a global priority—not as a climate solution necessarily, but as an insurance policy against rogue states or even rich individuals: