Geoengineering: The Radical Solution Tucked In Democrats' Climate Plan
Does geoengineering have a place in our policy toolbox?
for more research to better understand the risks of geoengineering, calls the House Democrats’ new climate plan “a bit of a grab bag,” but says it’s a good sign that geoengineering made it in there.With high-end emissions projections as dire as they are, it’s not hard to conceive of a world where the risks of a runaway climate crisis change how we think about the risks of geoengineering; to conceive that maybe a technology like this is something to keep in our back pocket, as a last resort. Of course, it’s a scary and uncomfortable thought to create such a backstop, because it acknowledges the possibility that the other ideas in this House report on addressing the climate crisis may be insufficient or unachievable.
The inclusion of geoengineering in this climate plan may suggest that the idea has taken one more small step toward legitimacy, toward being included in the policy toolbox lawmakers have for dealing with the climate crisis.It is also a reminder of just how many things have to go right on climate policy for many years to come if we are to avoid the most drastic outcomes – and solutions.
One way to see this is as a sign of desperation – or, at the very least, a distraction from the urgent task of reducing carbon pollution. As Jane Flegal, the head of the environment program at the Flora and William Hewlett Foundation,puts it: “As we think about how to deal with climate change, the line between ambition and delusion is not at all sharp.”
But simply dismissing geoengineering out of hand is also morally fraught. Just one example: Extreme heat will kill tens of thousands of people in the coming years, many of them in the poorest nations of the world. If solar engineering can reduce that heat and save lives, do scientists and policy-makers have a moral obligation to at least explore it? Thinking of geoengineering as the
solutionto the climate crisis is clearly bonkers. It’s less clearly bonkers to see it as part of a diverse climate action response, perhaps useful to take the edge off extreme warming while carbon emissions decline in the coming decades.Personally, I’m glad to see federal funding for geoengineering in the climate plan. Not because I’m an advocate for solar engineering, but because I have faith in scientists to figure out if this is a dangerous idea that should be shelved or if it’s a tool that they could actually refine enough to deploy in a modest, humble, and controlled way that might help reduce risks. This may sound naïve. But either you trust scientists to figure stuff like this out, or you retreat into Trumpland ignorance and voodoo.
What I don’t want to see is geoengineering research become a billionaire’s playground. Right now, as areportfrom Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program shows, most of the global funding for this research is coming from private sources, while government funding has declined in recent years (not that it was ever much to begin with).
If geoengineering research is going to happen at all, it should be rigorous, transparent, and not proprietary. It may indeed be a very bad idea. But it will certainly be a bad idea if the equivalent of, say, a Mark Zuckerberg gets control of it. Read more: Rolling Stone »
Kudlow defends Trump's coronavirus executive actions against accusations they are ineffective
White House National Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow appeared on ABC's 'This Week.'
Interesting article. I wonder what would happen if the sky becomes transparent again. Will it still rain? The sky has been messed with for so long... Also the 'fertilizing' of seas to improve fish cultures. Craziness.
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