Friday, April 10, 2009
Obama’s Science Advisor Gets the G Word (Geoengineering) Back in the Headlines
Speaking about his own personal views, President Obama’s chief scientific advisor John Holdren told the Associated Press that geoengineering could not be excluded as a possible option when it comes to addressing the problem of climate change. As reported in The Guardian, Holdren said "It's got to be looked at. We don't have the luxury of taking any approach off the table." With regard to one geoengineering scheme, cloud seeding, which could help cool the earth but also have the undesirable side effect of making the oceans more acidic, Holdren said that “We might get desperate enough to use it.” His attitude seems to be reasonable considering the alternative which is simply to try nothing if we cannot stop the buildup of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and resulting warming. However, how will we know when to try cloud seeding or some other geoengineering scheme? With a lag time of several decades between emissions and their full impact scientists may believe that the point has come long before the general public. Even today that may explain why the climate scientists are having such a difficult time translating their sense of urgency to the public.