Tagged with climate


Imagine what would happen if we had a magic wand that could solve climate change. Should we wave it?

Apparently, most people answer no. Mark Lynas and Yascha Mounk discuss why. Recommended 45 minutes to listen! Transcript available.

I agree with most of what they say, and like the idea of the new movement of ecomodernism. Finding pragmatic solutions to environmental problems and working on a positive vision of the future make so much more sense than trying to get people to reject the benefits of technological development.

Lynas' story about how he helped banning GMO in Europe and how he now thinks this was a mistake is a harrowing example of doing great harm with good intentions. I get chills when I imagine having to live with that. Luckily, I have never been sure enough about anything to become an activist.

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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. Sad.

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.

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