Environment

Scientists Endorse Geoengineering Research? Uh-Oh

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyNov 11, 2007 12:03 AM

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I just read this scoop from my friend Eli Kintisch in Science. Scary stuff. Seems Eli attended a high level meeting of climate scientists in Cambridge, MA on the subject of geoengineering--i.e., artificially altering the planet in some way to help stave off global warming (think Frank Herbert's Dune). And to Eli's surprise, he found the scientists pretty darn open to at least studying the idea. As he writes:

Harvard geochemist Daniel Schrag and physicist David Keith of the University of Calgary thought that geoengineering deserved a closer look (Science, 26 October, p. 551). In an opening presentation yesterday, Schrag explained that extensive, rapid melting of arctic sea ice (ScienceNOW, 2 May) and the fact that the world's 2005 and 2006 carbon emissions from fossil fuels were higher than predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are forcing the hands of climate scientists. Schrag also fears that when countries are faced with the prospect of even more drastic environmental change, they will turn to geoengineering regardless of whether the consequences are known. "We're going to be doing this if we're afraid of something really bad happening, like the Greenland ice sheet collapsing," he said.

My God, are we really this far gone already? Do we need to seriously consider geoengineering as an insurance policy, if nothing else?

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