The climate is changing, but the solutions aren’t.

As global temperatures soar, technological fixes will attempt to alleviate future catastrophic conditions. If technology prevents or slows climate crises, then nations will support such efforts. One fix, according to the IPCC is Carbon Dioxide Removal. CDR’s far-fetched goal is achieving net negative emissions and reverse anthropogenic climate change (IPCC Headline, 2). Other solutions, many from science-fiction, could emerge, yet it is easy to predict associated consequences. Launching particles into the atmosphere helps cool the planet, but it may block solar energy vital for plant grow from reaching the earth’s surface. Covering the earth in reflective white sheets boosts the planet’s albedo, but it may displace many species. These ideas, like many techno-fixes and especially CDR, don’t fix the problem at the source. Rather, they enable the systematic energy consumption that causes climate change in the first place. It is doubtful that an effective solution can be implemented in the limited time remaining. Perhaps as we brainstorm a grander socio-technological answer, conventional techno-fixes can buy us precious time.

Claiming that the field of climate science is too young for accuracy is an inaccurate position. Reidy’s text verifies that early greenhouse effect studies were already happening in the nineteenth century. Reidy writes that John Tyndall proposed in 1861 “any changes to the constitution of the atmosphere” would cause climate change (Reidy, 13). This timeframe places the origins of climate science a couple years behind Darwinian natural selection and decades before Einsteinian relativity. A theory’s accuracy isn’t based on how long it has been around. A field’s prestige comes from consilience and research-based support from across academia. The most recent ICPP report, was written by “hundreds of climate scientists who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies” (Davenport, 2). Those numbers aren’t trivial, and, like evolution or relativity, climate science deserves recognition.

2 thoughts on “The climate is changing, but the solutions aren’t.”

  1. Good post Ben. Your first paragraph nicely outlines possible fixes, and their consequences, for climate change. I agree that the development of a large-scale, long-term socio-tech fix will be difficult, and perhaps impossible within the time frame given by the IPCC. Other tech fixes may buy us more time, but how much time is unclear. I also agree that climate science deserves more recognition. Reidy’s work on Tyndall shows that climate science has long-standing foundations, and arguments that we need more evidence for climate change are absurd. We have amassed a large amount of evidence of human-caused climate change, and we should take steps, perhaps via tech fixes, to remedy the environment.

  2. Hi Ben, I really like how you discussed multiple technological fixes for climate change along with their consequences. I also discussed the idea of putting particle in the atmosphere to block the sun’s rays, but I never really thought about how it would affect plant life. I found this interesting because I only thought about how it would affect the weather. I somewhat disagree with your claim about climate science’s maturity. I would say that we are teetering in the grey area between the science’s infancy and its maturity. We still have a lot of questions to answer, but we also know quite a but about the subject. Because we are still unsure and divided on the issue, I believe that we are almost over the mountain of climate science, but not quite.

Leave a Reply