The eminently sensible Johann Hari has written an article on geoengineering. Geo-engineering is essentially the deliberate modification of Earth’s environment on a large scale to suit human needs and promote habitability. This concept has always remained anathema to most Deep Greens (environmentalists who would go as far as to say that human populations need to be reduced in order to combat the damage we’re doing to the environment) and even fairly moderate environmentalists.
Arguments against such an endeavour from the point of hubris fall because we’ve already had a huge effect on our environment and planetary atmosphere, albeit unintentionally. The landscape of
The most appropriate argument against geoengineering, as pointed out by Hari, is that we have no way of predicting the consequences of any of the things we do to the atmosphere. We’re not even sure at the moment how increased levels of carbon dioxide will effect the weather. We can say “there will be warming” but we can’t say when and where and how large the effect will be. Changes in salt levels in the Atlantic may cause the Gulf Stream to shut down, stopping the current of warm water that has kept
I think geoengineering, as with that other controversial and much-criticised practice, genetic engineering, are worth looking into but large steps towards a workable project should only be made once we have more understanding of the systems involved.
Transhumanists like Ray Kurzweil argue that as our knowledge of how our bodies and brains function is increasing in a manner similar to an exponential curve, it may be sooner rather than later that we can alter ourselves significantly. I imagine that the same trend is applicable to our study of how the climate functions.However I agree with Hari that we are not yet ready for serious geoengineering and should concentrate on reducing our output of greenhouse gases.