Engineering The Earth: A Public Forum on Controlling the Climate

Global warming is now unavoidable.  Man-made emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are rising faster than previously projected with enormous implications for the rate of future heating of the Earth's climate.  While many scientists advocate measures to reduce our carbon footprint, others are concerned that these efforts won't be able to stem the tide.  Instead they are proposing ways to counter climate change by deliberately modifying the atmosphere, oceans, and ecosystems.

Will such schemes work?  Could they cause more harm than good?  What about unanticipated consequences?  Who will decide which ideas, if any, should be attempted?  These questions must be addressed openly and transparently.  We will hear from some of the main proponents of  "geoengineering" ideas at this public forum as well as from scientists who have raised critical concerns.  The forum will conclude with a roundtable discussion.  

  • Brad Marston (Brown University) - Welcome/Introduction
  • Michael Ditmore (Novim) - Remarks
  • Kurt House (Harvard) - The Possibility and Difficulty of Engineering Oceanic and Atmospheric Composition
  • David Keith (University of Calgary) - Limits to Climate Engineering: Ignorance, Physics and Politics
  • Tony Michaels (University of Southern California) - Ocean Carbon Sequestration: The Acid Test
  • Ray Pierrehumbert (University of Chicago) - Perils of the Sulfate Sunshield
  • Roundtable Discussion: Catherine Gautier (University of California, Santa Barbara), Moderator

The public is invited to attend.  This all-day session is one aspect of an 11-week program of study at the KITP on the "Physics of Climate Change"  (April 28 -- July 11, 2008).  The public forum is sponsored by the KITP and by Novim.