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Environment

The Turn Towards Geoengineering

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyJanuary 8, 2009 8:55 PM

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Eric Berger blogs that leading climate researchers are increasingly turning towards the idea that there's going to have to be some sort of backup plan, in case our societies don't (or can't) dramatically cut emissions. This is basically what I said in my Wired feature last year: Geoengineering is starting to win over serious climate scientists because 1) political inaction keeps making the problem worse; 2) new scientific findings keep suggesting that the problem is worse anyway; 3) one geoengineering solution, stratospheric sulfate infusion, is definitely going to work and can be done right away. The only thing that can change this dynamic will be if Obama and the Democratic Congress take really strong action to curb global warming, and soon. However, there are already signs they're beginning to balk at the massiveness of the problem....and it's also possible that we might cap emissions but still need to geoengineer if # 2 above continues to shock and worry climate scientists, and global warming worsens still faster than expected. So, yeah: Geoengineering has a very good chance of being in our future. What will be interesting is to see how and when this fact makes its way into mainstream political discourse.

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