We Must Start Geoengineering Studies Now

by Ginosar  

I wish it would not be the case, but I believe we must start now R&D on geoengineering.

For a long time I opposed anything to do with geoengineering, the massive processes that could artificially reduce the warming of the earth, for all the known objections:

1. It would reduce our effort to do the required hard things: significant cutting of global GHG emissions.

2. Playing with global forces is highly risky. The potential for overshoot; that manipulating the global environment could cool the earth too much and instead bring in a new ice age.

3. The amount of CO2 and other GHG would continue to increase and add to the already large environmental damage, such as increase acidity of the oceans, disturb the climatic balance and make it more erratic, leading to increased weather instabilities.

4. Geoengineering is much cheaper than cutting GHG therefore, nations, private institutions, or even some wealthy people could start their own weather modifications leading to unknown climate changes.

We know that the danger to the global climate is increasing rapidly. The amount of GHG in the atmosphere is steadily increasing instead of decreasing. And it is expected to increase in a faster rate than before due to the "modernization." of China and India. In addition, the evidence is clear that we are not likely to cut the global GHG emissions in the future as science indicates we must.  What's more, the likelihood that we will do it in time to avert tipping points, catastrophic climate events, is increasing all the time since the temperature is increasing.

Furthermore, global cooperation is much further away than we hoped for. The economic competition is so strong that cooperation for our common survival is not promising at all.

Therefore, it is fairly clear that we are unable, at least up to now, to comprehend that we are all in the same sinking boat and it is leaking heavily AND WE DO NOT HAVE MORE SPARE TIME. We have little choice, we must start developing geoengineering systems. At least to give us time to, maybe, to overcome our resistance to global cooperation.

Again: The main reason I see why we must start internationally controlled R&D on geoengineering is the high likelihood that nations, organizations or well off people will start doing their own climate modifications without global control.

That can lead to gross errors and catastrophic events much faster than a globally controlled, scientific, well thought out R&D on geoengineering.


1. It is cheap and easy to do geoengineering privately away from international control. This is highly dangerous.

2. We need an iron clad international control, way beyond nuclear control, using military power to impose it, and that it remains only international.

3. Must continue to fight GW by cutting GHG much more than before, but we know China and India and our own inaction, or minimal action, are useless in scope.

4. Not starting to find out now the potential benefits and dangers of geoengineering, and not developing tight control over it could be worse than anything.


A response:
Matania  -- Yes, R&D on geoengineering is a good thing to do, just as good or better than the massive defense R&D that helped "win" the Cold War and helped avoid nuclear weapon use back in the 1950-80s.  R&D that we wish were not necessary, but low in cost versus the consequences of not having the knowledge and the option.
In this case, the R&D helps define the costs of dealing with GW by means other than cutting emissions.  The more we can know and can tell the public about the options, consequences and costs and benefits the better for mobilizing public opinion and especially active and intelligent public opinion.

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