According to the Society, geoengineering will not substitute for either aggressive emissions reduction or efforts to adapt to climate change, but it could help lower greenhouse gas concentrations, provide options for reducing specific climate impacts, or offer strategies of last resort if abrupt, catastrophic, or otherwise unacceptable climate-change impacts become unavoidable by other means.
However, AMS scientists caution that research to date has not determined whether there are large-scale geoengineering approaches that would produce significant benefits, or whether those benefits would substantially outweigh the detriments.
The Society notes that geoengineering must be viewed with caution because manipulating the Earth system has considerable potential to trigger adverse and unpredictable consequences.
"We can't escape the need to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions starting immediately," said Paul Higgins, AMS senior policy fellow and chair of the statement drafting team. "But even our past emissions bring us to uncharted territory and create risks so severe that we must responsibly consider all options."
Geoengineering proposals differ widely in their potential to reduce impacts, create new risks, and redistribute risk among nations. For example, techniques that remove carbon dioxide directly from the air would confer global benefits but could also create adverse local impacts. Reflecting sunlight would likely reduce Earth's average temperature but could also change global circulation patterns with potentially serious consequences such as changing storm tracks and precipitation patterns.
Even if reasonably effective and beneficial overall, geoengineering is unlikely to alleviate all of the serious impacts from increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Still, the threat of climate change is serious. Mitigation efforts so far have been limited in magnitude, tentative in implementation, and insufficient for slowing climate change enough to avoid potentially serious impacts. Furthermore, it is unlikely that all of the expected climate-change impacts can be managed through adaptation. Thus, it is prudent to consider geoengineering's potential benefits, to understand its limitations, and to avoid ill-considered deployment.
The AMS statement has three specific recommendations:
Enhanced research on the scientific and technological potential for geoengineering the climate system, including research on intended and unintended environmental responses.
A coordinated study of historical, ethical, legal, and social implications of geoengineering that integrates international, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational issues and perspectives and includes lessons from past efforts to modify weather and climate.
Development and analysis of policy options to promote transparency and international cooperation in exploring geoengineering options along with restrictions on reckless efforts to manipulate the climate system.
AMS policy statements advocate a position on science and technology issues of concern to AMS members; provide analysis, articulate the state of scientific understanding, or express the concern of the scientific community about issues pertinent to a current public policy issue; raise awareness of a scientific issue with potential future policy implications; and make policy recommendations based on the professional and scientific expertise and perspectives of the AMS. All AMS statements are online at http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/
The AMS is the nation's premier professional organization for those involved in the atmospheric and related sciences.
NASA examines Peru's deadly rainfall
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Steep rise of the Bernese Alps
24.03.2017 | Universität Bern
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy