Summary í The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World á PDF DOC TXT or eBook

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The Planet Remade How Geoengineering Could Change the WorldThe risks of global warming are pressing and potentially vast The difficulty of doing without fossil fuels is daunting possibly even insurmountable So there is an urgent need to rethink our responses to the crisis To meet that need a small but increasingly influential group of scientists is exploring proposals for planned human intervention in the climate system a stratospheric veil against the sun the cultivation of photosynthetic plankton fleets of unmanned ships seeding the clouds These are the technologies of geoengineerin and as O. We've had plenty of books on climate change its impact what we can do about it and so forth But one of the aspects that tends to be treated very narrowly is that 'what we can do about it' Specifically solutions tend to be about reducing production of greenhouse gasses But all the evidence is that this will not be enough and that there will be a reuirement for geoengineering taking on active changes to reduce warming or to get carbon out of the atmosphere or bothMany green organisations don't like geoengineering because they see it as of the same humans interfering with the environment which they should leave alone but if you take a logical rather than emotional approach then some form of geoengineering will almost certainly be necessaryOliver Morton makes a persuasive case for this in an odd book which meanders between the factual and unnecessarily poetic in a way that readers will either love or hate Considering the content the book is far too long padded out with an awful lot of prose that doesn't do much often making tangential references to some kind of geoengineering activity So for instance on the last page we get this paragraphUp above and far away too far for any eye but the mind's a future lifted on long strong wings starts a graceful cautious turn It seems almost beyond the bonds of Earth but it does not fly in freedom; there are things it cannot do and must not do many ways for it to slip and fall The future is hemmed in on one hand by its design on the other by the unforgiving laws of nature But its heading and height can with skill be changedWhat Really Haven't a clue and that's 30 seconds of my life I won't get back There is far too much of this meandering waffle and were it not for the power of the argument when he does stay on topic I would only give this book three stars But the fact is that when Morton does focus we get lots of great material on geoengineering He spends a lot of time on modifying what he calls the 'earthsystem' by 'veilmaking' as you may gather he likes making up words or using these neologisms if someone else dreamed them up ie spraying material up in the stratosphere which will reduce incoming energy from the Sun and hence reduce warmingThere is also a fair amount probably the most interesting part of the book on cloud science and manipulation of clouds and their impact on warming or cooling By comparison most of the methods of taking carbon out of the atmosphere get short shrift Carbon capture and storage is probably correctly dismissed as simply not doing enough and most of the mechanisms for taking carbon from the air at large are simply too expensive in money andor land usage to be meaningfully deployedI came out of the other end of the experience of reading this book convinced we ought to be doing on geoengineering but without a clear picture of the way forward in part because of the obscurity of the writing I think this book will delight someone who wants to get all touchy feely about the concept but it left me wanting Even so it is doing something that no one else has and so is worth a try

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Summary í The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World á PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ✓ The risks of global warming are pressing and potentially vast The difficulty of doing without fossil fuels is daunting possibly even insurmountable So there is an urgent need toOf us realize Appreciating those changes clarifies not just the scale of what needs to be done about global warming but also our relationship to natureClimate change is not just one of the twenty first century's defining political challenges Morton untangles the implications of our failure to meet the challenge of climate change and reintroduces the hope that we might He addresses the deep fear that comes with seeing humans as a force of nature and asks what it might mean and what it might reuire of us to try and use that force for go. In this ambitious book Oliver Morton attempts a tricky task simultaneously introducing and examining the scope of climate geoengineering; and also imagining its utopian application not just technologically utopian but also politically and socially The book’s strength is that it largely achieves these two potentially contradictory tasks Morton delivers a utopian scenario for climate geoengineering while still giving enough attention to its possible pitfalls and missteps to reveal just how difficult such a path would be to craft in reality Time and again he emphasizes the need for care compassion and justice in in both the purposes and design of a climate geoengineering intervention Morton’s utopian scenario is one in which stratospheric aerosol injection SAI is deployed to give society ‘breathing space’ to ramp down carbon emissions and develop carbon removal techniues It’s deployment would be led by a ‘club’ of low emission nations and used as negotiated leverage to incite elevated mitigation by others Morton acknowledges that the linkage here might be hard to achieve and that others might rather slack off their efforts In what might be a nod to Iain Banks’ ‘Concern’ from Transition 2009 Morton’s climate club is dubbed ‘The Concert’ It begins in secret with little power but with high leverage approaches plays a critical role in changing how humanity sees its role on the planet and relationship with natureMorton claims only that he has constructed one plausible pathway for a beneficial deployment of SAI – for which his alias of ‘veil making’ used ostensibly to avoid technical language softens the idea making it palatable as well as accessible He is however at pains to acknowledge alternative damaging routes which may in reality be likely in the face of real world irrationality He treats the ‘moral hazard’ that critical actors might reduce mitigation efforts if geoengineering is available seriously and neatly encapsulates one scary variant as the ‘superfreak pivot’ that climate deniers will shift to support geoengineering as yet another reason to do nothing about emissions The crux is that Morton does not believe pathways without geoengineering can avoid climate harms without causing other serious social or economic harms He sees a need for high leverage interventions with strong governance foundations because economic and climate inertia mean mitigation is now too late or slow So he is forced to seek out a ‘good’ geoengineering pathway however difficult it is to construct The Planet Remade covers all the main proposed geoengineering techniues – not just SAI but also ocean iron fertilization OIF marine cloud brightening MCB bioenergy with carbon capture and storage BECCS and direct air capture DAC outlining their history the current state of knowledge and expected risks and benefits and impressively without descending into the alphabet soup of all these acronyms But – thankfully it is than a popular science book about new technologies it raises important philosophical ethical and political uestions It successfully pushes the reader beyond current assumptions about what geoengineering might be and why it might be done – to recognize other possibilities both tempting and concerningBut while Morton does well to offer contrary views on the science and technologies involved he is less successful in breaking out of the pervasive framings of geoengineering In posing two uestions in his introduction do you believe climate risk to merit serious action Do you think it will be very hard to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to near zero he already reproduces the most sticky frames that unabated climate change is a huge even catastrophic problem; that political approaches to resolving the challenge have largely failed and cannot now be expected to work; and that novel technological responses are the most likely possibilities now – as ways to ameliorate climate impacts without deep changes in society Elsewhere he rows back from most of these framings at least a little exploring uestions of politics and justice and actively rejecting climate emergency arguments but in terms of establishing a setting in which geoengineering appears rational unavoidable and even desirable the horse has already boltedMorton though clearly disagrees with those who categorically reject geoengineering – for example on grounds of hubris or because it might prevent desirable deep changes in society see for example Clive Hamilton Earthmasters 2013 and Mike Hulme Can Science Fix Climate Change 2014 He recognizes that climate engineering could embody a nuclear weapon like “Dr Strangelove sensibility and an I am become death the destroyer of worlds hubris” p311 but asserts that “If I thought this was a necessary truth at the heart of climate geoengineering I would not have written this book” p312 He concentrates instead on whether it is practical and how it could be done well transparently governed and justly distributed Here Morton’s technological optimism is at its strongest arguments that geoengineering could not be controlled – even those backed by scientific experimentation – are pushed aside in favor of the implicit utopian belief that SAI could be fine tuned to minimize harms even though the effects are almost impossible to attribute – especially over short time scales This though remains an argument on Morton’s terms a largely utilitarian assessment of net costs and benefits Those who think geoengineering is categorically unjustified are unlikely to be convinced by arguments like this on either side Overall Morton offers less to such readers than to those ready to consider the possibility that the world is past the point at which practical accelerated mitigation and adaptation action can adeuately ameliorate the growing impacts of climate changeThe book is also rich in history and Morton finds lessons in wealth of different contexts from weather making to nuclear dreams and nightmares and even asteroid impact detection Morton does not subscribe to the ‘exceptionalist’ doctrine that climate geoengineering is entirely unprecedented and demanding of novel responses and many of his examples add weight to this position However the book’s least convincing passages are those where he seeks to persuade the reader that past human interventions in the nitrogen cycle represent geoengineering in practice and offer helpful lessons for future geo engineering A grounded reading suggests that – like fossil fuel exploitation – human activities to fix nitrogen for explosives and fertilizers are at most ‘unintentional’ geoengineering and the responses Morton praises in the efficient and sustainable management of nitrogen have much in common with emissions abatement than they do with climate geoengineering Despite its focus The Planet Remade is not just about geoengineering It is also about the increasingly trendy idea of the Anthropocene the suggestion that human impact on the planet is so great that we have collectively become not just a geological force but the dominant one in the modern age and that our impacts will be seen in the geological record for eons to come Despite his memorable description of the worst possible outcome of the Anthropocene as being “a Frankenstein planet stitched together by geological resurrection men” p258 Morton’s sympathies seem to lie closer to the Promethean scientists who seek to manage an unavoidable and potentially even ‘good’ Anthropocene than with precautionary scientists and environmentalists who use the term as a warning – a reason for humanity to pull back from scientifically identified ‘planetary boundaries’ and lessen our interference Some readers might even see the historic links Morton notes between environmentalism and racist eugenicism as an implicit critiue of environmental objections to geoengineering in a heavily populated world However I don’t believe Morton intends such an association as elsewhere he clearly resists the polarization of debate it would imply In the end I may disagree on the desirability of the particular society and engineered earth system that Morton portrays both in his utopian scenario and in the frames he reproduces but I can celebrate the excellent job he has done of making the reader consider and envisage alternative futures in which both technology and society are transformed The most valuable role of geoengineering is not necessarily how it might act on the physical world but how its consideration can help us change our mental and social worlds for the better Discussing it as Morton does with open reference to the moral hazards involved and the potential justice implications is a positive step forward in developing responsible discourses of climate futures

Oliver Morton ¶ 4 Read

Liver Morton argues in this visionary book it would be as irresponsible to ignore them as it would be foolish to see them as a simple solution to the problemThe Planet Remade explores the history politics and cutting edge science of geoengineering Morton weighs both the promise and perils of these controversial strategies and puts them in the broadest possible context The past century's changes to the planet to the clouds and the soils to the winds and the seas to the great cycles of nitrogen and carbon have been far profound than most. In The Planet Remade Oliver Morton makes the case for geoengineering Readers can learn a lot from this book even if they are only willing to consider geoengineering a thought experiment through which they will learn about climate changeMorton opens his exploration considering two uestions he was asked by Robert Socolow First do you believe the risks of climate change merit serious action aimed at lessening them Second do you think that reducing an industrial economy's carbon dioxide emissions to near zero is very hard Morton categorizes many climate change deniers as No Yes and many climate activists as Yes No Even if these activists might claim they're Yes Yes Morton argues they can't believe it's that hard to reduce CO2 emissions or else they'd be willing to consider geoengineering Morton considers the moral hazard argument—that by increasing the planet's albedo we would decrease our drive to reduce CO2 emissions—but is unconvinced by it How much should we worry about moral hazard when global annual CO2 emissions have risen throughout this century of environmental awareness and activismThere is a second way into this analysis In Whole Earth Discipline Stewart Brand looks at Bill McKibben's End of Nature and takes its conclusions literally rather than rhetorically There's no going back and our nostalgia for a past euilibrium is however understandable not pragmatic Here Morton argues that human action now partially drives the planet's climate and points out that the green revolution is already a sort of geoengineering just not one that's being used to counter climate change The Planet Remade can be thought of as a work calling for adaptation as opposed to mitigation—reducing CO2 emissions and reading it I wonder if eco moderns will wind up advocating for both adaptation including many forms of geoengineering and mitigation In William Nordhaus's Climate Casino what's right environmentally speaking becomes a uestion of money Solar radiation management doesn't seem that expensive and I can see eco moderns thinking as I often did if we could reduce energy entering the atmosphere how much time could we buy to draw down CO2There's something a bit mad scientist about The Planet Remade but I wonder if that says about my own ignorance than about this book JASON was looking into altering or weaponizing climate decades ago CCS seemed mad scientist not long ago and now it seems all but mainstream If we're clearing 450 ppm in 2030 I wonder if we won't be taking solar radiation management seriously If that is our projection shouldn't we be ramping up research into SRM in addition to mitigation In his concluding chapter Morton considers a few scenarios by which solar radiation management might happen In one a small group of nations whose shores are especially threatened by rising sea levels decide to start seeding the atmosphere so that it reflects light How long could they do it without other governments noticingA final note I was able to learn about geoengineering in Ezra Klein's interview with Jane Flegal If you really like the idea of geoengineering the interview offers a bit detail into the limits of this strategy than Morton does See episode 284 of the Ezra Klein Show