Unilateral Geoengineering

When Bill McKibben argues that we’re already in a state of climate emergency, my immediate reaction is, “We need another Pinatubo." John Robb pointed his readers to Jamais Cascio’s thoughts on the security implications of geoengineering: yes, Western environmentalists are squeamish about tampering with Mother Earth. But will the same be true of China’s leadership in twenty or thirty years? Consider that the impacts of climate change, which as Jim reminds us are extremely unpredictable, will be very uneven. Achieving some kind of broad international consensus is thus close to impossible.

So will one powerful state or a coalition of states decide to pull the trigger and launch a large-scale program to stabilize the climate through artificial albedo enhancement? Will other states be willing to cede that level of control over their climates to the unilateralist renegades? It’s a scenario that makes the Iraq invasion look like a sideshow.