Breakthrough links to a new GAO report on emissions trading in Europe. The results are not encouraging. The solution set we’re dealing with seems hilariously inadequate to me. The most popular policies — ETS, CDM — have been advanced because they will cause the least economic disruption for Europe, thanks to population decline and mature economies. This short essay from Bruce Berkowitz provides useful context on the power politics behind the discourse on climate change.

I increasingly think that our climate failures will give rise to the Cascio scenario.

This scenario most likely to make this apparent is one in which we embark upon a set of geoengineering-based responses to the climate problem (not as the sole solution, but as a disaster-avoidance measure), probably starting in the early-mid 2010s. These would likely be various forms of thermal management, such as stratospheric sulfate injections or high-altitude seawater sprays, but might also include some form of carbon capture via ocean fertilization, or even something not yet fully described*. Mid-2010s strikes me as a probable starting period, mostly out of a combination of desperation and compromise; geo advocates might see it as already too late, while geo opponents would likely want to have more time to study models.

As a result, by 2030, while various carbon mitigation and emission reduction schemes continue to expand, a good portion of international diplomacy concerns just how to control (and deal with the unintended consequences of) climate engineering technologies. It’s not impossible that there will be an outbreak or two of violence over geo management.

The timing could be off. But I can’t see how AGW isn’t going to sharpen global conflict.