Climate change is the name given to the change of weather patterns globally over an extended period of time. Effects of such change are not fully known yet, yet they could be seen as irregular precipitation and seasons, rising sea levels, desertification, and a rise in frequency of damaging weather occurrences, such as tropical cyclones.
WE NEED TO STOP BLAMING, AND START WORKING TOGETHER FOR A SOLUTION FOR EVERYONE. WE NEED TO GENERATE A SOLUTION THAT WORKS FOR THE BIG EMITTORS AS WELL AS THE MOST VULNERABLE. WE NEED CONVERSATIONS.
Geoengineering is the intentional engineering of the climate to reverse climate change. This encapsulates many solutions, from fertilising oceans to making brighter clouds, each with their own benefits, technological limitations and risks. However, whilst each solution may have negative aspects, geoengineering as a whole has huge potential, and must become a third pillar to combating climate change.
Mitigation alone has failed, and adaptation is often very costly and therefore often leaves the poorest behind. Both of these are important, but are unfeasible on the timescale we have. We need more time, and we need to make sure we don't reach any tipping points. The issue is, we are moving too fast towards climate catastrophe that we need to do a lot to reverse warming already done, as well as stopping future warming.
This is where geoengineering comes in. It would reverse previous warming, as well as buying us more time to change society to stop future warming. We could possibly buy ourselves 80 more years where sea levels are not rising, droughts do not increase, and where we can invest sufficient time to change our ways.
Currently, certain statistics have pointed to a figure of 12 years in which to make the biggest ever shift society has ever seen. Politically, that's unfeasible. If we had close to a century, then it may, just about, be possible.
It is far from a perfect solution, yet as emission reductions are failing, and we now have 12 years to halve our emissions, extending our deadline and reversing many of the effects of climate change will become necessary.
Geoengineering may fulfil these purposes. It may not. But, so we can implement it safely and effectively, we need it fully debated, researched and discussed TODAY.
A portfolio of solutions
We are currently solely reliant on mitigation (reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we release), and this looks on track to fail, and leave us with at least 3 degrees of warming - this is catastrophe level scenario. We must invest in all areas of combating climate change- emission reduction, adapting our cities, governance system, economies and societies to deal with the threat of climate change, incorporating geoengineering to buy us more time and provide a safety net so we don't face catastrophe if we fail to get our act together.
We need to invest in a truly global solution.
Geoengineering presents smaller countries with a lot of will to solve the issues of climate change with the power to do so. In mitigation-only scenarios, the large emitters hold all the power, and they are making steps to change their ways. However, many smaller countries, especially island nations, are frustrated by their lack of power in the negotiating room. Due to the low cost of many geoengineering solutions, and the fact that any country can seize the initiative on them, it allows these marginalised countries to get a say in the climate debate.
For these reasons, we must start creating an open and honest conversation about the role of geoengineering, for if we ignore it, we could end up with geoengineering being used by a single country in ways that only benefit them. If we refuse to listen to criticisms of geoengineering schemes, we will fail to see the truly promising geoengineering schemes from amongst the false solutions. If we leave it too late, we may face catastrophic consequences of unabated climate change. Leaving the conversation closed may prevent a sustainable solution from being reached.
What we do
We are campaigning for more support of technological insurance domestically and internationally, and so here are a few ways you can get involved:
1. Help initiate a public discussion about geoengineering
Learn and discuss geoengineering in your homes, workplaces and schools. Email for free resources or to invite a Worldward speaker to initiate discussion.
2. Attend or speak at an event
Worldward are trying to organise geoengineering events, covering research, governance and public engagement. Worldward are looking for politicians, academics, civil society groups and ordinary people to be part of these events. Email if you are interested.
3. Participate in our Climate Change Conversations Project
We are trying to interview politicians, policy advisers, academics, researchers and anyone interested in the geoengineering discussion as part of our 'Climate Change Conversations Project'. Press here to participate.
More people need to know about geoengineering, so help start that discussion. We want the media talking about geoengineering, as well as social media. Learn, write, or post, and help us make a pluralistic discussion for all.