Should we use Geoengineering to Cool the Planet?

Broadly speaking, there are two ways to slow the pace of global warming. Humans could stop adding carbon-dioxide to the atmosphere. Or scientists could try to artificially cool the planet — say, by spraying reflective particles in the stratosphere to block (a small bit of) sunlight.

The first option is typically the only one that comes up in policy discussions. But climate scientist David Keith has long argued that we should start thinking seriously about both strategies. His new book, “A Case for Climate Engineering,” makes the argument at length.

It’s a highly controversial view. After all, solar geoengineering is fraught with risks. Things could go badly awry. And Keith is upfront about those dangers; indeed, he has called for an international moratorium on deployment until we understand the technology better. But geoengineering may be the best way to limit some of the damage from the carbon-dioxide we’ve already put in the atmosphere. At the very least, he says, scientists need to start researching the idea more thoroughly.

Keith, who left the University of Calgary in 2011 for a position at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Sciences, talked with me this week about his new book. . . .

The rest is available at WA Post’s Wonkblog.

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