Sweeping it Under the Rug

This seemingly sudden interest in geoengineering has been sparked by a series of things. In the video, Clive Hamilton speaks to the history of climate activism, saying that our “Plan A” of reducing carbon emissions hasn’t been working, so the push for geoengineering is “Plan B” to assist in slowing the effects of climate change. Hamilton also stresses a political side to the argument for geoengineering, explaining that political figures are using this concept to campaign the reduction global without enacting climate protection policy. I would argue that geoengineering is a techno-fix. Today, the topic of climate change and intervention inevitably leads to political and social implications, and if an issue with such implications is simply being solved with technology, it is a techno-fix. As soon as climate change became a social issue, a fix reaches far beyond only technology. When discussing the overall effects of geoengineering, Hamilton states, “Sulfate spraying without a change in the political system would make the situation worse”, in order to stress the multi-dimensional nature of the problem (Hamilton, Scientific American). That statement also relates to the sustainability of geoengineering in being a solution for climate change. There has been debate about loss of incentive to continue climate change research in the future which would lead to issues in the long term, which was also touched on with the political commentary from the video. The other statement that, “any version of this technology carries risks of its own, including air pollution, damage to the ozone layer, and unanticipated climate changes”, implies that this technology has the potential to cause more harm than good in the short term as well (Keith, Project Syndicate). Overall, I do not feel that geoengineering is sustainable unless it is only a small part of a larger climate change effort.

Published by chasedboyd1

Hello! My name is Chase and I’m a computer science major at Montana State University.

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