In this week’s issue, Michael Specter looks at geoengineering and considers the possibility of a technological solution to global warming:
For years, even to entertain the possibility of human intervention on such a scale- geoengineering, as the practice is known- has been denounced as hubris. Predicting long-term climatic behavior by using computer models has proved difficult, and the notion of fiddling with the planet’s climate based on the results generated by those models worries even scientists who are fully engaged in the research. ”There will be no easy victories, but at some point we are going to have to take the facts seriously,” David Keith, a professor of engineering and public policy at Harvard and one of geoengineering’s most thoughtful supporters, told me. ”Nonetheless,” he added, “it is hyperbolic to say this, but no less true: when you start to reflect light away from the planet, you can easily imagine a chain of events that would extinguish life on earth.”
There is only one reason to consider deploying a scheme with even a tiny chance of causing such a catastrophe: if the risks of not deploying it were clearly higher.
Click-through to read the rest of “The Climate Fixers,” by Michael Specter.