Into the Great Wide Open?

The Potential Role of Geoengineering to Combat Climate Change.
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Climate geoengineering is defined by the National Academy of Sciences as “options that would involve large-scale engineering of our environment in order to combat or counteract the effects of changes in atmospheric chemistry.” These methods include ocean iron fertilization, stratospheric sulfate injection, marine cloud seeding, air capture, and the use of planetary sunshades, all of which have the potential to substantially improve, or reverse, current warming trends. At the same time, all of these schemes could have serious negative ramifications, including adverse regional impacts with momentous implications, such as shutting down monsoons in Southeast Asia, depletion of the ozone layer, and reduction of agricultural production in many regions of the South, including Asia and South America.

The purpose of this panel will be to assess the potential benefits of climate geoengineering, as well as potential negative impacts. The panel will discuss how geoengineering research and potential deployment should be governed, including the potential role of international institutions, or alternatives, including voluntary scientific codes of conduct or unilateral deployment. The panel will also discuss ethical issues, including whether geoengineering could create a “moral hazard” problem, i.e. divert attention from reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Panel members include with Wil Burns,  (visiting Professor, Monterey Institute of International Studies of Middlebury College), Dan Whaley, (Climos), Jane C.S. Long, (Associate Director for Energy and Environment Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), and Ken Caldeira, (Senior Scientist in the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University) to discuss geoengineering to combat climate change.

Sponsored by the Stegner Environmental Center.  A Green Stacks program.


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