Geoengineering — An unavoidable gamble?

What is geoengineering?

The idea of geoengineering is not new. In 1965, President Johnson’s scientific advisor proposed geoengineering by brightening the oceans and reflecting sunlight. They assumed that fossil fuels would continue to be used.

Mount Pinatubo (wikipedia)

Benefits and risk

Solar geoengineering can be a fast and easy way of cooling our planet. With mitigation and carbon removal costs of trillions dollars each year, as well as the land use needed for carbon removal— it’s certainly will be discussed at some point in time.

Future scenarios

With the future being so uncertain, Wagner created in a next chapter 3 different future scenarios in which countries would have to make decisions about what actions they could take on climate change. One option was having them agree upon certain limits for how much emission and there would be international cooperation for migitation. But the migitation actions would prove to be very hard and come too slow. Therefore the international community could come together to make agreements about geoengineering and govern it rationally, starting with limited aerosol injections.

No technological taboos

A case against researching or even discussing Solar Geoengineering would be the “moral hazard” problem. If we would know that there’s a simple technofix for climate change, we would stop migitating. But one study of Christiane Merk did found out that participants were even more likely to donate for a climate charity if the possibility of solar geoengineering was discussed with them in the experiment.



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