What about geoengineering?

It is a good idea to study geoengineering schemes, and it does help us understand earth systems better, but this is not a realistic permanent solution. It could draw large amounts of resources away from technologies we already know can solve the problem.

Long answer

We are already geoengineering, we are just doing it badly and heating the earth up and cutting down our planetary lungs.  Burning fossil fuels is geoengineering that gives us climate change.  The question is, can we geoengineer for good instead?

Geoengineering is not a decarbonization strategy. It is a hope to control the temperature of the earth while giving up on CO2 strategy. Many of the early arguments for studying geoengineering were that we should know how, just in case the world turns out to be apathetic about climate change. We now know multiple paths to geoengineering climate change: most of them amount to managing the incoming flux of energy from the sun. You have probably heard of these ideas - giant space mirrors, scattering reflective particles in the atmosphere, artificially-generated clouds. In an ecosystem as complex as that of earth, they will all have unintended effects. 

Geoengineering would also make us dependent on always needing geoengineering in the future. It's a bit like using liposuction as the solution to obesity when you're just going to keep eating cheeseburgers. Even if it works, and we do it, we can't afford to take the pressure off the better, cleaner solutions proposed. 

The problems of trying to control the climate are many. Who sets the temperature? Low-lying islanders and people who love coral or northern Europeans who might benefit from a bit more climate change? We don’t really know all of the unintended consequences - environmental, social, or political.

It is a good idea to study geoengineering schemes, and it does help us understand earth systems better, but this is not a realistic permanent solution. It could draw large amounts of resources away from technologies we already know can solve the problem.

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