Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Geoengineering climate requires more research, cautious consideration and appropriate restrictions

23.07.2009
Geoengineering - deliberately manipulating physical, chemical, or biological aspects of the Earth system to confront climate change – could contribute to a comprehensive risk management strategy to slow climate change but could also create considerable new risks, according to a policy statement released by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) today.

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.

Stephanie Kenitzer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ametsoc.org
http://www.ametsoc.org/geoengineering

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA balloon mission captures electric blue clouds
24.09.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht 558 million-year-old fat reveals earliest known animal
21.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Matter falling into a black hole at 30 percent of the speed of light

24.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA balloon mission captures electric blue clouds

24.09.2018 | Earth Sciences

New way to target advanced breast cancers

24.09.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>