I listened to this podcast the other day
and want to highly recommend it! There is a transcript at that same link, if you prefer text over audio.
It has lots of information that was new to me, and a nuanced discussion on a topic that
triggers a negative gut reaction from most people: intervening in the climate, for example by
increasing cloud cover over the oceans, or by putting reflective particles high into the atmosphere.
The argument is of course not that we should stop other efforts to decrease and mitigate climate change,
even though it looks like this is what everbody reacts to. Instead the point is to at least do the
research needed to know what does or does not work, before an intervention gets done in the future
without such knowledge, in a state of emergency. Nevertheless, as soon as it became public that
some US researchers wanted to do this kind of research in northern Sweden, there was an outcry
and it just got cancelled.
In the podcast
I especially enjoyed their discussion of moral hazards. Like with COVID, there are often strong warnings
that the public will receive certain information in a way that makes things worse,
while the opposite reaction is just as plausible.
I find geoengineering to be quite enticing and if I ever were to switch careers, this would be on my list of
things to check out. It is not discussed much in the interview but
that humanity in the long run takes charge of the climate makes perfect sense to me,
it is probably inevitable. For example, we do not want to be subject to the mercy of nature, like
a supervolcano erupting, or to the whims of rogue states that do a climate intervention that only suits
local needs. Solving the problem of world-wide agreement on what the right temperature is,
will certainly be difficult, but might well become a catalyst for stronger global institutions, which we
need for other problems as well.