This Series of Video are debating the idea of whether we should be engineering our atmosphere or not.
Climate change is kicking in and we are becoming increasingly concerned that a 4-degree global temperature rise is on the cards for later this century. This will lead to dramatic changes in sea level leaving vast regions of the world uninhabitable. We have the means to adapt and engineer our world. We already create huge dams to supply water to desert regions, and we heat the homes of billions of people in cold climates. There are proposals for technologies to cool the planet. Is it the right time to think about engineering the climate?
For The Motion:
Peter Wadhams is Professor of Ocean Physics in the University of Cambridge, and is an oceanographer and glaciologist involved in polar oceanographic and sea ice research and concerned with climate change processes in the polar regions. He leads the Polar Ocean Physics group studying the effects of global warming on sea ice, icebergs and the polar oceans. This involves work in the Arctic and Antarctic from nuclear submarines, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), icebreakers, aircraft and drifting ice camps. He has led over 40 polar field expeditions.
Against The Motion:
Matt Watson is a Reader in earth Sciences at the University of Bristol. He is the Principle Investigator for SPICE (Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering). His research involves inversion of remotely-sensed data to retrieve physical parameters of volcanic plumes and clouds over several spatial scales, using both ground- and satellite-based techniques.
Oliver Morton is The Economist’s briefings editor. Before coming to The Economist as energy and environment editor in 2009, he was the chief news and features editor of Nature, the international scientific journal. He specialises in the energy business, climate science and policy, and other green issues. He is the author of “Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet”, a study of photosynthesis, its meanings and its implications, and “Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World”.
Against the motion:
Helena Paul works with EcoNexus on the impact of emerging technologies on biodiversity, communities, food sovereignty. Technologies include synthetic biology, geoengineering, GM crops and trees. I also focus on the impact of biofuels, biomass production, bioenergy generally on land and biodiversity. EcoNexus researchers are concerned that not enough account is taken of the complexity of natural systems when making interventions.
Matt Watson qualifies his perspective