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What Happens When Geoengineers ‘Hack The Planet’?

Dan Drollette shares an article by an Oxford physics professor who’s concerned about the popularity of radical new proposals to fight global warming.

The Christian Science Monitor wonders if it’s time to re-engineer our climate. MIT’s Technology Review basically thinks the answer is “yes,” having described it earlier as “cheap and easy.” The Atlantic seems quite smitten with Economist writer Oliver Morton’s vision of remaking the planet, which geoengineering booster Jane Long breathlessly called “geopoetry.” The idea received recent coverage (much of it favorable) by New Scientist, NBC, and in TED talks; I myself have recently participated in an NPR panel discussion on the subject… But what has really catapulted the idea into the public eye is Harvard’s reckless plan for a privately-funded field trial testing some of the key elements needed… Proceeding to field experimentation crosses a thin red line beyond which lies the slippery slope down to ever-larger field trials and ultimately deployment.

Harvard’s experiment — which is partially funded by Bill Gates — is “subject to no governance save what Harvard chooses to impose upon itself,” according to the article. The experiment involves “putting something in the atmosphere to reflect more sunlight back out into space,” which the article warns will create “enduring” effects — and require humanity to commit to maintaining the same atmospheric conditions forever.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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