- This event has passed.
Into the Great Wide Open: The Potential Promise and Perils of Climate Geoengineering
According to several recent analyses the pledges made by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Paris Agreement put the world on course for temperature increases of 2.6-3.5C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, with temperatures projected to continue to rise for centuries after emissions are stabilized. This could have disastrous consequences for human institutions and natural ecosystems, including massive sea level rise, substantial diminution of biodiversity, and potentially catastrophic declines in agricultural production, especially in the global South.
As a consequence, increasing attention has been devoted to a series of potential responses that were once considered taboo, climate geoengineering, defined by the National Academy of Sciences as “options that would involve large-scale engineering of our environment in order to combat or counteract the effects of changes in atmospheric chemistry.” These methods include ocean iron fertilization, marine cloud albedo enhancement, stratospheric sulfate injection, bioenergy and carbon capture and storage, and direct air capture. While these schemes could help the world combat climate geoengineering, they also could have serious negative ramifications, including disruption of monsoonal cycles, depletion of the ozone layer, alteration of marine ecosystems and threats to food security and critical water resources. This presentation will discuss some of the most widely discussed climate geoengineering options, as well as potential governance of such technologies.