Theme Issue ‘Climate engineering: exploring nuances and consequences of deliberately altering the Earth’s energy budget’


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 Our planet is warming, largely from the ever-increasing burning of fossil fuels. If this continues, serious consequences to our planet are likely to occur within the second half of this century. The objective of Climate Engineering (hereafter CE, but also referred to as ‘Geoengineering’, and sometimes as ‘Solar Radiation Management’) is to offset the warming and some other climate consequences that would otherwise result from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface or by increasing the outward transmission of long-wave radiation from the Earth. These strategies might be used throughout the period required to replace fossil-fuel burning with globally distributed clean energy and even be continued while CO2 concentrations remained too high.

Five years ago, the Royal Society published a report titled Geoengineering the Climate [1] summarizing many of the issues associated with CE. The Society’s article-tracking software records a large number of downloads and citations to an earlier Phil Trans A theme issue on Geoengineering [2] (to which a significant number of the authors involved in this Theme Issue also contributed). This fact underlines the wide scientific concern about the issues raised by global warming, and an appreciation of the urgency of charting a credible path to avoid some of its worst consequences, should efforts to shift to a very-low-carbon society progress too slowly (as appears likely). There is not yet, however, a good understanding of CE and the nuances which need to be explored.

…(read more).


Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

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