Solar geoengineering has always been seen as the Hail Mary of climate solutions. It’s hardly something to build your game plan around, but when time is running out, it may be your only option.
At best, geoengineering is a sort of atmospheric medicine designed to treat a sick planet. The Oxford Geoengineering Programme defines it as the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change”, and it usually involves either squirting chemicals into the atmosphere to reflect heat back out into space or finding ways to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. By that definition, tree-planting counts as geoengineering — although I’m more inclined to define that as “ecosystem engineering”.

Climate Engineering: Solution Or Problem?

On February 10, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released two major new reports on climate engineering (or “geoengineering”). The reports set out to summarize the scientific basis for what the authors chose to call “climate intervention”, identify governance and ethical challenges, and chart a new research agenda. While the authors were careful to state…

MIT Crowdsourcing Climate-Change Solutions

24 March 2014 | The Climate CoLab has announced twenty-two contests that seek high-impact ideas on how to tackle climate change. A project of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Collective Intelligence, the Climate CoLab seeks to harness the knowledge and expertise of thousands of experts and non-experts across the world to help…

Beneath The Surface: The Ambitious Carbon-Capture Water Plan Embedded In The U.S.-China Climate Announcement

Earlier this week, the United States and China, the world’s leading polluters, announced plans to limit their greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen cooperation on issues related to climate change and clean energy. While the announcement centered on the nations’ pledges on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions targets (a reduction of 26-28% of 2005 levels by 2025…

Win-Win Or Double-Edged Sword? Canadians Capture Carbon From Coal, Use It To Squeeze More Oil Out Of The Ground

SaskPower's new CCS Facility. Image captured from a promotional video available at

For decades, oil companies have been injecting liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) into the ground to get more oil from their wells. It’s a process called enhanced oil recovery (EOR), and it works because CO2 acts as a solvent to free up oil that’s stuck in rock formations. EOR has unintended environmental benefits too, because a lot of that CO2 stays…

Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering

Hardcover: 264 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press (April 22, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0300186673
ISBN-13: 978-0300186673

The great architect and city planner Daniel Burnham learned his craft in the embers of the Great Chicago Fire, and he clearly developed a worldview that Australian ethicist Clive Hamilton would describe as “Promethean”. “Make no little plans,” Burnham is famously quoted as saying. “They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not…