Society needs to decide whether geoengineering, failing attempts to curb emissions, should be researched as plan b. Are the dangers associated with geoengineering too great? Should we purely be focusing on the challenge of mitigating carbon emissions?
What is geoengineering?
Geoengineering refers to the deliberate manipulation of the earth’s climate.
Is geoengineering detracting from the real issue?
There is a risk that serious consideration of geoengineering could give the impression that the need to reduce carbon emissions is not as important and that global warming has a possible technical solution. If serious consideration is given to researching geo-engineering projects, the pressure might be taken off governments to tackle the source of climate change and continue the decarbonisation of society.
Dr Paul Johnston is principal scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories and Head of the Science Unit for Greenpeace International. Paul set up the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at London’s Queen Mary College in 1987. He has continued as the principal scientist since the group relocated to the University of Exeter in 1992.
Professor David Keith University of Calgary, Canada
Environmental scientist Prof David Keith works at the intersection of climate science, way-new energy, and public power. His research has taken him into some far-out realms of geoengineering — dramatic, cheap, sometimes shocking solutions to a warming atmosphere, such as blowing a Mt. Pinatubo-size cloud of sulfur into the sky to bring the global temperature down.
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