Monday, November 02, 2009

Geoengineering's Debutante Ball

I hope the smart blogger start talking about the "Lulling hypothesis". Child proof safety caps on medicine lull people into not hiding medicine from kids and kids break into the pills. Diabetic medicines for fighting high blood sugar lull diabetics into thinking they can eat lots of sweets. Will geoengineering have the same effect? Do expectations of future technology fixes diminish our desire to "go low carbon" today? I think the answer is yes and this is why geoengineering is running into the hate.

If people could promise to not be lulled by the promise of the geo-engineers would Al Gore give it his blessing?

Prof Ken Caldeira has become the "guru" of geoengineering. I have now read Ken Caldeira's 2007 PNAS paper and he recognizes the challenge of the "lull". Here is a direct quote from the Master.

"It is equally critical that efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions do not become hampered or slowed by the specter of false certainty in our ability
to geoengineer the climate change problem away."

http://dge.stanford.edu/labs/caldeiralab/Caldeira_research/pdf/Matthews_Caldeira_PNAS2007smaller.pdf



Let's here from my new friend Henry.


Dear Professor Kahn,


On November 5, the House Committee on Science and Technology is scheduled to hold the first congressional hearing devoted to geoengineering, a strategy to change features of the Earth’s environment to offset the warming effects of greenhouse gases. The AEI Geoengineering Project has been active for over a year, and Lee Lane, codirector of the project with Samuel Thernstrom, will be one of the witnesses testifying on Capitol Hill. Lane recently coauthored an extensive analysis of geoengineering options for the Copenhagen Consensus that has been cited in the New York Times, in the Financial Times, and on Time.com. A growing number of climate scientists and economists are supporting research into geoengineering, and the idea is gaining popular notice as well. In their new book SuperFreakonomics, University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and his coauthor Stephen Dubner discuss geoengineering’s potential.



“An Analysis of Climate Engineering as a Response to Climate Change,” by Lee Lane and J. Eric Bickel

Copenhagen Consensus Center Working Paper

Full Text: www.aei.org/article/100863

http://www.aei.org/docLib/AP-Climate-Engineering-Bickel-Lane-v.3.0.pdf


I JUST DOWNLOADED the BICKEL PAPER BUT HAVE NOT READ IT.

“Could We Engineer a Cooler Planet?” by Samuel Thernstrom

Article in the Washington Post

Full Text: www.aei.org/article/100625

"A geoengineering system would of course be controversial, but the policy question we face today is simple: Should the federal government conduct research on geoengineering? The scientific and engineering challenges involved in geoengineering the global climate for decades, and the potential consequences of success or failure, are extraordinary; all the more reason to begin a research program commensurate with the scale and significance of the task."

I CERTAINLY SUPPORT DOING THIS RESEARCH AND HAD NAIVELY ASSUMED THAT THE NSF WAS AWARDING GRANTS FOR THIS.





“Governing Geoengineering”

AEI event with Lee Lane, Scott Barrett, Bryan D. Caplan, and Thomas C. Schelling

More Information: www.aei.org/event/100074



Best,



Henry



Henry Olsen

Vice President and Director, National Research Initiative

American Enterprise Institute

1150 17th St., N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20036

1 comment :

Ryan said...

Here's an alternate hypothesis to Lulling that explains the hate. When the solution was carbon reduction, my support for carbon reduction and my own actual reductions were signals of my own moral virtue and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. I don't want to lose the associated status or have my sacrifices be unnecessary.

This alternate hypothesis has the virtue that it's consistent with rationality (not that I don't believe irrationality exists -- I'm just not sure why it should only affect one group).