Privatisation and De-globalisation of the Climate

This paper considers the issues raised by creating market incentives for private industry to engage in geoengineering. It argues that the benefits could include increased innovation and creativity in dealing with climate-related problems, and that the direct environmental risks are probably manageable. However, the political consequences are potentially destabilising and hard to predict. The creation of diffuse vested commercial interests may obstruct the achievement of the common good, as well as leading to global climate concerns being partially transformed into local weather concerns. While the commodification of the climate fits the long-term trend of increasing human management of the natural world, it is a step of alarming size and possibly hard to reverse.

If, as seems likely, the trend of global warming continues, it may become desirable or necessary to take compensatory measures more radical than simply reducing emissions of carbon dioxide: climate Engineering may become an understandable policy choice. Current ideas on how this could be done include seeding the oceans to induce a higher uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or the cooling of the earth by reflecting a proportion of sunlight, either through generation of reflective clouds or the placing of particles in the upper atmosphere. All of these are contested and unproven technologies. However, it seems on balance likely that it is possible, affordable, and within the reach of current science, to deliberately manipulate temperature and other aspects of the climate.

Copyright: © Lexxion Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
Source: Issue 03/2013 (September 2013)
Pages: 7
Price: € 41,65
Autor: Prof. Dr. Gareth Davies

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