I think people are unfairly dismissing the "geo-engineering" solution to climate change. On Aguanomics I am arguing with--can you guess?--Silas, as well as the site's founder, on this issue. My latest salvo:
I *will* say that geo-engineering is stupid.
Wow, you guys are really confident in what the world will be like in 30 years. Are you really that sure?
I wasn't there myself, but I've read that people in 1900 were really concerned about the problem of horse manure in growing cities. People conducted exptrapolations and showed that with the rate of growth thus far established, Manhattan would be buried in horse dung by the year 19xx.
If someone had said, "I'm not going to worry about it, I think someone will mass produce oil-burning automobiles within 40 years," what would the cautious scientists have told him?
We don't have a clue what the technological situation, and the understanding of climate change, will be like in 30 years.
If you want to say, "geoengineering is a very risky strategy and I can't support it," OK fine. But to casually dismiss it as "stupid"?
It would be pretty tragic if the world "spent" $10 trillion on mitigation efforts, and then in 2027 somebody perfected a way of cheaply using microbes to condense immense quantities of atmospheric CO2 back into a storable liquid fuel, such that individual companies in this new industry could reduce CO2 by 1ppm each year starting in 2028. (Sorry for the long sentence.)
Incidentally Silas, this kind of thing shows how you are mishandling the geo-engineering suggstion. You are assuming it would cost the same as mitigation efforts, but no, that's the whole point: It might cost $2 billion to put enough solar panels into space to both (a) generate power for space stations and (b) reduce sunlight hitting the earth. And it's self-financing. So private industry might do that, even though the market couldn't coordinate $2000 payments from 6 billion people on the planet in order to pay trillions emitters to switch to low-carbon techniques.