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Geoengineering? The Earth Doesn’t Need to Change – We Do

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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“The Earth doesn’t need to change, we do” says Sheril Kirshenbaum. In today’s Ottawa Citizen, the University of Texas research scientist explains why we shouldn’t use “our only home” as a geoengineering lab. Kirshenbaum argues that there are simply too many variables that can cloud our ability to predict the outcomes of – for example – pumping sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to cool the Earth. And, if we mistakingly go too far, we could ruin the “only [planet] that we’ve got.”

Instead, Kirshenbaum argues that society can do to help control their changing climate. In her article, she states that:

“[we need to] move beyond lip service and work to take greenhouse gas emissions seriously by lowering them to an acceptable level. It won’t be easy — in practice or policy. But there’s a lot more we can do too that will work in our favour. For example, forest restoration globally will not only protect animals, but also capture a great deal of carbon dioxide. With increasing urbanization, we have the capacity to reforest degraded grasslands and pasturelands, which would have a real, measurable impact on climate.

In other words, I’m not ready to give up on humanity to do the right thing. Not yet. Instead of attempting to manage Mother Nature through geoengineering, we should be doing a better job of managing ourselves.”

We should not dismiss the potential for geoengineering to be a positive force in the energy and climate discussion. But, we should also appreciate Kirshenbaum’s concerns regarding the potential for unintended consequences. We have one Earth, and we should protect it.

See the entire article here

Melissa C. Lott About the Author: An engineer and researcher who works at the intersection of energy, environment, technology, and policy. Follow on Twitter @mclott.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. outsidethebox 3:59 pm 12/17/2011

    We can have an honest disagreement about if climatologists really understand what’s going on about AGW. There is no argument however about if they understand human nature. They clearly and demonstrably do not. It is easier to geo-engineer the Earth than it is to change human nature. Which is why the true believers continue to insist on the only path towards the climate’s future that will never be accepted. It’s that all saw about insanity is doing the same thing over and over again (Kyoto, Copenhagen, Mexico City, Durban), expecting a different result.

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  2. 2. Dacron Mather 12:29 pm 12/19/2011

    “The University of Texas research scientist explains why we shouldn’t use “our only home” as a geoengineering lab.”

    And that goes double for turning it into a social engineering lab.

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  3. 3. chy12 9:33 pm 07/31/2012

    Burberry USA, the German people were very fond of soccer, even though sports were not popular at all. Their love to football was out of our imagination. Consequently, a good pair of soccer shoes became almost all the German people’s dreams. They had a keen business sense even when they were only children, and the Dassler brothers began to study again in the factory and design football shoes at once. The very simple design may seem outdated today, but at the time they were totally new and advanced design. Several years later, the brothers built a bigger shoes factory and began to sell to the whole Germany. The new factory was named as Adidas Factory which was the predecessor of today’s famous Adidas.

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