The Planet Remade ? – a book by Oliver Morton

Read and put on the shelf? It took me two advertisement buy the book by Oliver Morton (former Chief News Editor of Nature) book “The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World”. I expected an other case of sorcerer’s apprentice’s advocate. I’m positively disappointed. The book needs – in parts – a patience reader, but for the benefit of the subject and the balance of the argument.

Timemachine - III
Timemachine – III

The author’s punch-line is double, (i) we (humans) undertake geoengineering since a century, the example of the global nitrogen cycle etc., (ii) we (humans) will be too late in curbing significantly climate change by reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, (iii) a ‚minimum-coalition of the willing‘ could start putting up a (thin) “stratospheric veil” to slow down global warming with the purpose to buy time and to gain political momentum.

The book consolidates the evidence that Earth entered the Anthropocene, the time when humans are a geo-force that is aat peers with (other natural) forces. In that context, advocating to do what we (humans) know best seems evident, namely to engineer our environments. Looking on our track-record, I’m unconvinced that our (human) engineering-skills are sufficient to act consciously at the planetary scale. Having said this, admittedly we never tried yet to “engineer consciously planet Earth”. So far our engineering pulled off a suite of collateral damages that we try to repair. (http://ukkoelhob.blogspot.de/2015/05/engineering-anthropocene.html ).

Nevertheless, O. Morton has an argument, namely that it might be worth to copy volcanoes‘ climatic impact: ‚planetary cooling by injection of sulphur particles in the stratosphere‘?

EGU-EOS19_R4mAThat is a chilling idea. It seems to lack the wisdom of a strategy that ‚curbs pollution at the sources‘; what were the only successful policies so far (e.g. Montreal Protocol), although it requires to coordinate people / nations / states, an activity we (humans) are not so good at. Furthremore, it sounds prosperous for sorcerer’s apprentice and its track-record of ‚collateral damage‘, now to engneer consciously. But that attitude fits so damned well the spirit of our species (http://ukkoelhob.blogspot.de/2015/12/geoethics-and-anthropocene.html).

It may be time that we learn to do it – making the mature Anthropocene (https://twitter.com/drfunkyspoon/status/659745995740311552).

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