Posted by Big Gav in geoengineering
WorldChanging has a summary of the now expanding field of books about geoengineering (with Jamais Cascio's "Hacking The Earth" being the first one to look at the topic in depth) - Geoengineering Books.
Geoengineering is fast becoming a mainstream debate.For some, the most worrisome thing about geoengineering is the idea that, once people know about it, they will think of it as a technological quick fix that makes it unnecessary to control emissions of greenhouse gases, an effort everyone takes pains to point out is by far the most important step to be taken now...Still, if geoengineering is not yet an idea whose time has come, it is definitely gaining traction.
So writes Cornelia Dean in the New York Times. She reports on the new books out on geoengineering, including:
* HACK THE PLANET, by Eli Kintisch
* FIXING THE SKY, by James Rodger Fleming
* COMING CLIMATE CRISIS, by Claire L. Parkinson
Additionally, Dean recounts her experience at the Asilomar International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies and summarizes some the main, critical, political issues largely unaddressed in the geoengineering debate:Meanwhile, there has been relatively little discussion so far about who would make geoengineering decisions — would the world accept an American president in charge of the decision to go ahead? Assuming we could tune the Earth to a desirable temperature, who would say what that temperature would be? What side effects would be acceptable? Who would be compensated for suffering them. And so on.
I attended the Cambridge meeting Mr. Kintisch describes at the beginning of his book. Afterward, I talked to participants about what it would take to devise and implement any geoengineering plan the world’s wildly diverse people and governments might buy into. And who would regulate it or police any “rogue state,” nonprofit or commercial venture ready to act on its own?
Participants I spoke with were at a loss. “World government,” one of them, finally, offered. The answer does not inspire confidence either.
All the while, humanity is already engaged in a gigantic geoengineering experiment, one that has been under way, however inadvertently, since people started large-scale burning of fossil fuels 150 years ago. So far, the world’s efforts to act together on the problem have been, to be charitable, unimpressive.
The lesson, as all three authors put it, might therefore lie not in figuring out how to “hack the planet” but rather to change things so that planetary hacking will not be needed at all.