We need to address the procedures and structures for climate policymaking.
There’s a lot of discussion about the substance of climate policy today. That’s obviously critical, but we also need to think about the procedural and institutional issues involved in making climate policy. For instance, we need to think about how to divide authority between the states and the federal government. I thought it would be …CONTINUE READING
We’re making progress on addressing climate change, and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue doing so. Yet it’s not clear whether the path we’re currently on will make progress fast enough to avoid very serious risks. So what would it take for us to make a quantum leap in this effort? I wouldn’t hazard a prediction …CONTINUE READING
Did the IPCC bury the lede regarding solar geoengineering?
In my previous posts on the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), I described how models assume the use of uncertain negative emissions technologies at very large — if not impossible — scales in order to keep global warming within 1.5 or two degrees Celsius (1, 2; see also my colleague Julia …CONTINUE READING
If we’re serious keeping warming “well below 2°C, geoengineering may be necessary.
The Paris establishes an aspiration goal of holding climate change to 1.5°C, with a firmer goal of holding the global temperature decrease “well below” 2°C. As a practical matter, the 1.5°C goal almost certainly would require geoengineering, such as injecting aerosols into the stratosphere or solar mirrors. Even getting well below 2°C is likely to …CONTINUE READING
An NAS report on controversial engineered responses to climate change gets all the big things right, but avoids the hardest questions
Earlier this week, the National Research Council Committee on Geoengineering Climate released two reports, “Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration” and “Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth.” Requested and funded by several US federal departments – NASA, NOAA, DOE, and the cutely labeled “U.S. Intelligence Community” – this report is the first …CONTINUE READING
There’s been a lot of attention paid to a geoengineering “experiment” conducted recently in the North Pacific. A team distributed iron into the ocean: This is a form of geoengineering because, in many parts of oceans around the world, iron is the main nutrient that limits the growth and productivity of phytoplankton. If you add more iron in …CONTINUE READING
The scientific journal Nature reports on two recent research findings. One is bad news. I think the other is good news, but not everyone will agree. The first report (the bad news) is a reminder that ecological harm is a cumulative process: The [new] study suggests that the cold weather was the first of three …CONTINUE READING
Is it unethical for scientists studying techniques to geoengineer the earth’s climate to advocate for additional government funding to expand the study of the science and geopolitics of the topic? That’s the conclusion of a recent Guardian article that criticizes Harvard’s David Keith and the Carnegie Institute’s Ken Caldeira for a) receiving outside money to …CONTINUE READING
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made headlines this week when she announced that the country would phase out its nuclear power plants by 2022. The Fukishima nuclear crisis in Japan led Germany to review its reliance on nuclear power and the result of that review was Merkel’s decision to shut down the country’s existing plants. Here’s …CONTINUE READING
In a recent conversation, a Berkeley climate scientist compared geoengineering to chemo: you may find out it’s your only choice, but it would be better not to get cancer in the first place. Likewise, we might need geoengineering, but it would be better if we didn’t pump the atmosphere full of carbon. Nevertheless, it’s important …CONTINUE READING