Monday, 21 October 2013

Last, for now, in a series of media work on CE

I've not listened to the audio yet, but the transcript is how I remember the discussion going. Unlike the Indy article, I think I was able to capture some of the nuances about research and deployment.

The comments below the article (I know, I probably shouldn't read them) imply people still don't quite get that. I confess that I worry the research-deployment differentiation is at best difficult to convey and at worst an unrealistic personal construct - some sort of intellectual comfort blanket, or rose-coloured glasses, that allows me to rationalise my desire to research. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Independent on Sunday article

New article on CE/GE in the Independent on Sunday today. Framing is OK (except for playing God/ saving/destroying planet stuff) although my comments wholly negative on GE/CE which don't really capture the nuances of my position. It is hard to distinguish research from deployment, and there is no clear blue water either, but I think I was pretty clear on the need for research during discussions with Memphis (the author). It was quite an interesting interview, one of a number I've done in the last week or two. It irkes me slightly that, having battled to develop a clear personal framing, newspapers produce the most sensationalist of headlines sometimes. I guess that's the nature of the beast...

Monday, 14 October 2013

Article in the Sun online

Is here:

I can't quote the piece in its entirety (and apologies it is behind the Sun's paywall) but, before anyone worries about the title (and selling the idea of geoengineering), here's what I wrote in summary...

"Using solar radiation management would be very difficult politically. 

Which country should control the technology, or decide where the aerosols should be released? 

Which country gets to decide how cold it is, and what happens if there are unintended consequences? 

If weather patterns are changed, there could be severe fallout for countries which are suddenly getting a lot more rain than usual - or, more likely, a lot less. 

None of these techniques are perfect and none should be considered a silver bullet.  None have been tested on a large enough scale to be certain they would work. They should be considered no better than an insurance policy. 

They might help out if your house catches fire, but it would be better to stop it catching fire in the first place. 

Of course, there is a better option. Stop pumping as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Almost all climate scientists believe that we have very little time to make this change before we will have to either adapt to climate change or engineer a solution. "

I also talked about CDR in very general terms, and the editor did a bit of scene setting. 

It was difficult to write and the editor and I went back and forth on the wording a lot but I hope it was worth it. My aim was to open up the debate and be as frank as possible without, in any way, advocating any other choice than conventional mitigation. I guess some (including Jack Stilgoe) would legitimately ask if this was normalisation. I hope not... 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Guardian piece

So, the Guardian piece was (I think) relatively well received. I've had extremely nice emails from colleagues, mostly around the idea that it was pleasing to see something thoughtful and balanced about climate engineering, which is nice. Some of the comments on the article were a bit odd, some were critical but one stood out -  they made the observation that the term 'climate engineering' was disingenuous. What they actually wrote was:

'Nice switch from "geoengineering" to "climate engineering". Makes it sound much more soft and cuddly.'
I'd probably not have paid too much attention to that but for the fact that (independent of the Guardian piece) my good friend Duncan McLaren (Friends of the Earth & Lancaster University) had made the same point at a meeting yesterday. Now, when Duncan speaks, I listen. He's a pretty serious thinker on this stuff and, whilst we don't always agree, his observations certainly affect me. He pointed out that there was some evidence 'climate engineering' was a term people were more comfortable with (he did not see that as a positive, neither do I). I chose to use climate engineering as I think it most accurately reflects the thing it is trying to describe. Geoengineering, to many, is building dams and culverts. Climate engineering is exactly what it says it is - the engineering of a large scale climate (natural) system. I need to ask Duncan where the evidence for his assertion is - I'm quite sure he has some. My feeling would be that the juxtaposition of something natural like 'climate' and the clearly anthropocentric term like 'engineering' (read mastery is some circumstances) is striking. Maybe I'm wrong on this one. Time will tell.