Geo-engineering remains at best a secondary climate strategy if you first do really aggressive CO2 reductions and keep concentrations below 450 ppm. For now, as Obama’s science advisor put it [and reiterated to me this year], “The ‘geo-engineering’ approaches considered so far appear to be afflicted with some combination of high costs, low leverage, and a high likelihood of serious side effects.” At worst, geo-engineering is an utterly false hope that will undercut efforts to achieve the kind of emissions reductions needed for it to have any value. That, of course, is why conservatives love it (see here). Still, there is no reason not to do some research, as long as one is realistic….
Hacking the planet to rein in humanity’s effect on the climate has been given a scientific stamp of approval.
The umbrella body for meteorological scientists in the US is about to endorse research into geoengineering as part of a three-pronged approach to coping with climate change, alongside national policies to reduce emissions.
New Scientist has seen the final draft of the American Meteorological Society‘s carefully worded position paper on geoengineering. The AMS is the first major scientific body to officially endorse research into geoengineering.
The document states that “deliberately manipulating physical, chemical, or biological aspects of the Earth system” should be explored alongside the more conventional approaches to climate change. Conventional approaches means reducing emissions – “mitigation” in policy-speak – and adjusting to the unavoidable effect of climate change – known as “adaptation”….
Opponents of geoengineering may be reassured to find that the statement calls for studies into the social, ethical and legal implications of geoengineering solutions, and for methods to be developed in a transparent fashion.