Tuesday, December 19, 2023

PBS Terra examines geoengineering, 'The Riskiest Way to Save the Planet'

I'm in the middle of giving and grading final exams, so I'm posting an entry light on analysis. Watch two videos from PBS Terra on geoengineering, a topic I first explored here in Greenfinger eleven years ago. I begin with the more recent, Geoengineering: The Riskiest Way to Save the Planet.

How do we reduce the impact of climate change, and could geoengineering be the solution? Host Sinead Bovell is joined by sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson and other experts to examine the goal of Global Net Zero Emissions, direct air capture strategies, and why geoengineering is a risky strategy – that may be our only hope.
Kim Stanley Robinson is right about the risks of geoengineering. Geoengineering gone wrong is the premise of Snowpiercer, both the movie and TV show, after all. He's also right about uncontrolled climate change. Life will persist, but humanity would be clobbered. That's exactly what I tell my students.

The effects of injecting a lot of aerosols into the atmosphere aren't just science fiction. PBS Terra documented the results of an unintentional release when it asked Cool Us or Kill Us? Did Geoengineering ALREADY Cause a Massive Famine?

This episode of Weathered explores the controversial world of solar geoengineering by injecting sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere, looking at both the controversial promises and profound risks associated with manipulating the Earth's climate. Luke Iseman, the founder of Make Sunsets, tells us about his start up that is already releasing small amounts of sulfur dioxide into our skies. And then we speak with leading scientists from the non-use initiative against solar geoengineering or solar radiation management who warn against the potential dangers of this untested technology. Then we discuss the tragic drought and famine of the 1980s in the Sahel region of Africa and and its likely link to air pollution from the US and Europe. This episode sheds light on the intricate balance of our planet's weather and climate, and the human interventions that could change it forever.
Speaking of stories I tell my students, Mt. Pinatubo is another I include in my lectures. I actually prayed for a milder summer in 1992. Because of the eruption, I got one and regretted it. File that under "be careful what you wish for, you might get it."

Back to grading final exams. See you tomorrow.

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