"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Geoengineering and Intergenerational Ethics

EnvironmentalResearchWeb has a very interesting article by Steve Gardiner of "the other UW", on the subject on the ethics of geoengineering as an alternative to mitigation or adaptation.


Heiko said...

Much of what's in the article also was reflected in our discussions on the subject over in the global change group.

It's interesting that the forcing by CO2 is of similar magnitude as aerosols at present, which implies that aerosols need a lot of research. Some has also been done on the so called "nuclear winter", which I think is also essentially about aerosols.

The discussion I had with James Annan on aerosols was very helpful. It tells me that "nuclear winter" implies absolutely huge aerosol forcings (100 W/m2 plus).

I presume that aerosols are also important to judge the effect of volcanoes or meteorite impacts.

There are therefore many reasons to do aerosol related research that are unrelated to geoengineering.

I now wonder what research needs are in fact specific to geoengineering?

Also, recently there's been a study looking at forests and climate. They came to the conclusion that cutting down forest in Northern latitudes (there isn't exactly much in the SH), might actually cool the planet. Again the question of what deliberate changes to the world's albedo would do to the climate is already subject to study, without the subject being much labelled as geoengineering related.

Heiko said...


I hadn't actually previously read the article by Paul Crutzen (link above, it took me a little bit of determined googling to get it).

Paul Crutzen makes some specific proposals there, as to what should be researched, and he does in fact point out that this research would be interesting regardless of its connection to geoengineering. He doesn't particularly stress that point though.