Author: Oliver Morton
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2015-11-03
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 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 geoengineering—and as Oliver 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 problem. The 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 more profound than most of us realize. Appreciating those changes clarifies not just the scale of what needs to be done about global warming, but also our relationship to nature. Climate 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 require of us—to try and use that force for good.
Author: David Keith
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2013-09-20
The author argues that it is time for man to at least consider climate engineering—including putting reflective particles in the atmosphere to combat global warming—but it must be considered cautiously and not be implemented until all side effects are known.
Author: Eli Kintisch
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2010-03-25
An inside tour of the incredible—and probably dangerous—plans to counteract the effects of climate change through experiments that range from the plausible to the fantastic David Battisti had arrived in Cambridge expecting a bloodbath. So had many of the other scientists who had joined him for an invitation-only workshop on climate science in 2007, with geoengineering at the top of the agenda. We can't take deliberately altering the atmosphere seriously, he thought, because there’s no way we'll ever know enough to control it. But by the second day, with bad climate news piling on bad climate news, he was having second thoughts. When the scientists voted in a straw poll on whether to support geoengineering research, Battisti, filled with fear about the future, voted in favor. While the pernicious effects of global warming are clear, efforts to reduce the carbon emissions that cause it have fallen far short of what’s needed. Some scientists have started exploring more direct and radical ways to cool the planet, such as: Pouring reflective pollution into the upper atmosphere Making clouds brighter Growing enormous blooms of algae in the ocean Schemes that were science fiction just a few years ago have become earnest plans being studied by alarmed scientists, determined to avoid a climate catastrophe. In Hack the Planet, Science magazine reporter Eli Kintisch looks more closely at this array of ideas and characters, asking if these risky schemes will work, and just how geoengineering is changing the world. Scientists are developing geoengineering techniques for worst-case scenarios. But what would those desperate times look like? Kintisch outlines four circumstances: collapsing ice sheets, megadroughts, a catastrophic methane release, and slowing of the global ocean conveyor belt. As incredible and outlandish as many of these plans may seem, could they soon become our only hope for avoiding calamity? Or will the plans of brilliant and well-intentioned scientists cause unforeseeable disasters as they play out in the real world? And does the advent of geoengineering mean that humanity has failed in its role as steward of the planet—or taken on a new responsibility? Kintisch lays out the possibilities and dangers of geoengineering in a time of planetary tipping points. His investigation is required reading as the debate over global warming shifts to whether humanity should Hack the Planet.
Author: David G. Victor
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2011-03-10
Genre: Political Science
Global warming is one of today's greatest challenges. The science of climate change leaves no doubt that policies to cut emissions are overdue. Yet, after twenty years of international talks and treaties, the world is now in gridlock about how best to do this. David Victor argues that such gridlock has arisen because international talks have drifted away from the reality of what countries are willing and able to implement at home. Most of the lessons that policy makers have drawn from the history of other international environmental problems won't actually work on the problem of global warming. Victor argues that a radical rethinking of global warming policy is required and shows how to make international law on global warming more effective. This book provides a roadmap to a lower carbon future based on encouraging bottom-up initiatives at national, regional and global levels, leveraging national self-interest rather than wishful thinking.
We live in times of great change on Earth. In fact, while previous shifts from one geological epoch to another were caused by events beyond human control, the dramatic results of our emission of carbon to the atmosphere over the past century have moved many scientists to declare the dawn of a new era: the Anthropocene, or Age of Man. Watching this consensus develop from her seat as an editor at Nature, Gaia Vince couldn’t help but wonder if the greatest cause of this dramatic planetary change—humans’ singular ability to adapt and innovate—might also hold the key to our survival. And so she left her professional life in London and set out to travel the world in search of ordinary people making extraordinary changes and, in many cases, thriving. Part science journal, part travelogue, Adventures in the Anthropocene recounts Vince’s journey, and introduces an essential new perspective on the future of life on Earth.
“Thoughtful, informative, and darkly entertaining. It’s the best treatment of this important (and scary) topic you can find.” —Elizabeth Kolbert Right now, a group of scientists is working on ways to minimize the catastrophic impact of global warming. But they’re not designing hybrids or fuel cells or wind turbines. They’re trying to lower the temperature of the entire planet. And they’re doing it with huge contraptions that suck CO2 from the air, machines that brighten clouds and deflect sunlight away from the earth, even artificial volcanoes that spray heat-reflecting particles into the atmosphere. This is the radical and controversial world of geoengineering, which only five years ago was considered to be "fringe." But as Jeff Goodell points out, the economic crisis, combined with global political realities, is making these ideas look sane, even inspired. Goodell himself started out as a skeptic, concerned about tinkering with the planet’s thermostat. We can’t even predict next week’s weather, so how are we going to change the temperature of whole regions? What if a wealthy entrepreneur shoots particles into the stratosphere on his own? Who gets blamed if something goes terribly wrong? And perhaps most disturbing, what about wars waged with climate control as the primary weapon? There are certainly risks, but Goodell believes the alternatives could be worse. In the end, he persuades us that geoengineering may just be our last best hope—a Plan B for the environment. His compelling tale of scientific hubris and technical daring is sure to jump-start the next big debate about the future of life on earth.
Author: Clive Hamilton
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2013-02-15
Genre: Political Science
DIVThis book goes to the heart of the unfolding reality of the twenty-first century: international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have all failed, and before the end of the century Earth is projected to be warmer than it has been for 15 million years. The question “can the crisis be avoided?” has been superseded by a more frightening one, “what can be done to prevent the devastation of the living world?” And the disturbing answer, now under wide discussion both within and outside the scientific community, is to seize control of the very climate of the Earth itself./divDIV /divDIVClive Hamilton begins by exploring the range of technologies now being developed in the field of geoengineering--the intentional, enduring, large-scale manipulation of Earth’s climate system. He lays out the arguments for and against climate engineering, and reveals the extent of vested interests linking researchers, venture capitalists, and corporations. He then examines what it means for human beings to be making plans to control the planet’s atmosphere, probes the uneasiness we feel with the notion of exercising technological mastery over nature, and challenges the ways we think about ourselves and our place in the natural world./div
Author: Tim Flannery
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2015-10-06
A timely intervention on climate change from the internationally acclaimed scientist and author of the hugely influential The Weather Makers. How close is the great climate crisis? Can our desire to overcome it drive humanity's next great waves of positive technological economic and social revolution? or will we be plunged into the dystopian collapses and terrors of civilisations past? This book describes in plain terms our climate predicament and brings news of exciting tools in the making that could help us avoid a climatic disaster. In December 2015 the nations of the world will gather in Paris to try to forge a climate treaty designed to give us a fighting chance to limit global warming to 2°C, widely regarded as the safe upper limit if we are to avoid catastrophe. If we succeed at Paris, forging a new era of international political cooperation in the fight against a warming planet, it is possible that the next decade will astonish us in the solutions that we discover to safeguard our planet for our grandchildren and their grandchildren. 'Think Indiana Jones crossed with Charles Darwin' Financial Times 'A wonderful writer, an original scientist, and a gifted populariser' Martin Woollacott, Guardian 'If you're not already addicted to Tim Flannery's writing, discover him now' Jared Diamond
Author: Mike Hulme
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2014-06-04
Climate change seems to be an insurmountable problem. Political solutions have so far had little impact. Some scientists are now advocating the so-called ‘Plan B’, a more direct way of reducing the rate of future warming by reflecting more sunlight back to space, creating a thermostat in the sky. In this book, Mike Hulme argues against this kind of hubristic techno-fix. Drawing upon a distinguished career studying the science, politics and ethics of climate change, he shows why using science to fix the global climate is undesirable, ungovernable and unattainable. Science and technology should instead serve the more pragmatic goals of increasing societal resilience to weather risks, improving regional air quality and driving forward an energy technology transition. Seeking to reset the planet’s thermostat is not the answer. Climate change seems to be an insurmountable problem. Political solutions have so far had little impact. Some scientists are now advocating the so-called ‘Plan B’, a more direct way of reducing the rate of future warming by reflecting more sunlight back to space, creating a thermostat in the sky. In this book, Mike Hulme argues against this kind of hubristic techno-fix. Drawing upon a distinguished career studying the science, politics and ethics of climate change, he shows why using science to fix the global climate is undesirable, ungovernable and unattainable. Science and technology should instead serve the more pragmatic goals of increasing societal resilience to weather risks, improving regional air quality and driving forward an energy technology transition. Seeking to reset the planet’s thermostat is not the answer.
Author: Oliver Morton
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Release Date: 2007
Genre: Discoveries in science
Eating the Sun is the story of the discovery of a miracle: the source of life itself. This book explains how biologists discovered photosynthesis and through it found a new understanding of the history of our planet and how life is inconceivable without it. Photosynthesis is the most mundane of miracles. It surrounds us in our gardens and parks and countryside; even our cityscapes are shot through with trees. It makes the sky blue and nature green. That greenery is the signature of the pigments with which plants harvest the sun; wherever nature offers us greenery, the molecular machinery of photosynthesis is making oxygen, energy and organic matter from the raw material of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. We rarely give the green machinery that brings about this transformation much thought, and few of us understand its beautifully honed mechanisms. But we are dimly aware that those photosynthetic mechanisms are the basis of our lives twice over: the ultimate source of all our food and the ultimate source of all our breaths. Eating the Sun will foster and enrich that awareness. the crucial role its molecular mechanisms have played through more than two billion years of the earth's history, Eating the Sun will change the way the reader sees the world.
Author: Oliver Morton
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Release Date: 2003
This is a narrative history of the men and women who have explored Mars and mapped its surface from afar, and in so doing conditioned our understanding of our nearest planetary neighbour. The maps of Mars are detailed representations of a land as large as all the continents of the earth combined, yet they are being drawn before any human eye has seen the wonders they contain.
Author: James Hansen
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2011-01-04
Dr James Hansen, the world's leading scientist on climate issues, speaks out for the first time with the full truth about global warming: the planet is hurtling to a climatic point of no return. Hansen - whose climate predictions have come to pass again and again, beginning in the 1980s when he first warned US Congress about global warming - is the single most credible voice on the subject worldwide. He paints a devastating but all-too-realistic picture of what will happen if we continue to follow the course we're on. But he is also a hard-headed optimist, and shows that there is still time to take the urgent, strong action needed to save humanity.