Geoengineering the Climate


Question Description

1. This respond should be addressed to George Pilkington

To answer the questions presented this week, we must first understand what geoengineering actually means. Geoengineering is the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change (Oxford, 2018). David Keith, an environmental scientist, is not necessarily in favor of geoengineering; he feels not doing it would be worse. He states geoengineering has winners and losers (Keith, 2007). Keith agrees that geoengineering should proceed using sulfates. He suggests that scientists will think of other options as research continues (Keith, 2007). He thinks the problem would be lessened by finding a way to put particles, like sulfates, in the upper atmosphere where they can block the sunlight and therefore cool the planet (Keith, 2007). An example of Mount Pinatubo is used to demonstrate his theory. When Mount Pinatubo erupted, large amounts of sulfur was released into the stratosphere. The atmosphere dramatically cooled as a response to the amount of sulfur that was in the stratosphere (Keith, 2007). There are downsides to sulfur being in a different layer than normal. It actually destroys part of the ozone layer (Keith, 2007). Keith’s thoughts on global climate change is interesting. He states that if geoengineering is not done, years down the road, even in perfect emission conditions, Greenland’s ice sheets could melt at an alarming rate causing massive sea level changes leading to some of the world’s largest cities being removed (Keith, 2007). He states in years to come, if geoengineering was never implemented, society would be acting as opposed to reacting with geoengineering.

2. This respond should be addressed to Theresa Jackson

The implications of a moral hazard effect on existing climate policies would be significant due to the widespread agreement in the scientific community stating that Geoengineering technologists could never replace mitigation strategies. (Corner, Pidgeon 2014). Geoengineering is a set of unconventional, untested and risky proposals for responding to climate changes. Geoengineering undermines climate mitigation and adaption efforts. Sulfates mimic nature so they could be used, although there are disadvantages as well. Using sulfates could aid in depleting the ozone. Sulfates can also contribute to the pollution in the air we all breathe. “The bigger risks have to do with misuse. People often talk about using these technologies to return temperatures to preindustrial levels . If you did that, that would be a dramatic climate cooling with bad consequences, like reducing precipitation a lot.” (Plumer 2013). In order to address the issue of global climate change we need to understand mitigation and adaption. Aspects that are under our control would be the way we transport, the energy we use everyday in our household or at work and using it wisely and consuming less ao you have less waste and recycling. I never truly understood why so many people recycle until I did my research a few years back. I noticed what a major change it makes in my household and how much less I am throwing away. It makes me feel better knowing I am recycling and contributing to a better atmosphere for my children and there children after them. Every small change you make can effect the climate in a huge way.

Tutor Answer

School: UIUC



Reply to students
George Pilkington
Your discussion is very interesting. However, I have my worries about geoengineering as a
mechanism for combating climate change. I agree that geoengineering is a viable alternative for
fighting the worrying trend of climate change especially now that our planet faces some of the

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