What if it’s too late to save our planet without geoengineering?

(The Guardian, 26 Aug 2021) Climate engineering sounds scary. But is coming whether we like it or not, this scientist says.

The realities of climate change are front-page news every day. Temperature records are being smashed. Wildfires are raging. There is no sign of things going back to “normal”. If anything, they will only get worse.

Last year, when the planet was convulsing with the arrival of a pandemic, we pinned our hopes on technology – in the form of an mRNA vaccine – getting us out of our crisis. The vaccine was a technological intervention, injected into the arms of billions of people. Could we (should we?) look to technological solutions to our climate crisis, too?

This is the question posed by Holly Jean Buck in her 2019 book After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair, and Restoration. Zooming with me from Buffalo, New York, where she’s a professor of environment at the University of Buffalo, Buck is blunt in her assessment. The pace of climate change, and the insufficiency of humanity’s current response, have effectively already made the choice for us: mankind will have to engage in some kind of “geoengineering” – an umbrella term for various methods of intentional, planetary-scale climate intervention – whether we like it or not.

External link

The Guardian, 26 Aug 2021: What if it’s too late to save our planet without geoengineering?