On geo-engineering

Sparked by John Holdren’s comments in regards to geo-engineering:

There is a lot of skepticism- much of it well-founded, some of it hysterical and unreasoned- surrounding geo-engineering. Many view it along with CCS as nothing more than a more sophisticated attempt to move the goal posts on emissions reductions further still into the future even as we accumulate ever more of them in our atmosphere. I confess to having had similar doubts, especially when proponents of geo-engineering seem to miss completely the non-warming negative effects of increasing carbon levels (e.g. ocean acidification) or of the additional problems their proposed solutions can pose to issues relating to international law and security.

However, like Holdren, I think that we are reaching the point where we need to do due diligence regarding its exploration, provided mitigation and adaptation are still as aggressively pursued as possible. Moreover, a serious examination of geo-engineering as a possible tool to combat climate change can only serve to bring the severity of less-recognized consequences of failing to mitigate to the fore…

If preventing disastrous climatic change is your serious goal, you should welcome an honest appraisal of every tool in the collective kit. If CCS and geo-engineering are truly the smokescreens some claim they are, the truth will out. If CCS can eventually be a legitimate component of emissions-reduction based mitigation, then we should embrace it if only conditionally upon concurrent changes to coal usage. If geo-engineering proves to be viable only as a last resort due to its own negative consequences, better to have that knowledge sooner rather than later and redouble efforts to get some sort of treaty in place as soon as possible.

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