Geo-Engineering - a Moral Hazard

Most of us only became cognizant of global warming in the last few years - essentially when the effects were becoming so undeniable that the need to change our course finally prompted enough people to step out from amongst the crowd and to begin to speak out. A fire was lit underneath enough scientists and a few politicians for the news to start to spread into the mainstream and reach the little folk, like you and me. It might shock you, however, to realise that global warming is old news, very old news.

But, now we know.

Wouldn't it have been great to have known about it a little earlier? Even if there were uncertainties, shouldn't we have had the right to weigh these up in our own minds, from our own experience? Maybe we would never have allowed climate change to progress this far? Maybe. Obviously the information age has leapt into the fray at this point, to help carry our views and share our knowledge like at no other time in history. Perhaps if the internet hadn't been invented, the shift of social consciousness over the last two years may never have occurred. Knowledge has spawned interest, concern, and, hopefully, action?

Now there are other things 'known' behind the scenes, of which we are barely aware: notably movements towards geo-engineering - adjusting planetary mechanisms, in this case to try to accommodate our excess release of fossil fuels. Just as there was a reluctance to talk about global warming before, due to the possible economic and political ramifications and lack of scientific consensus, now there is a reluctance in government to talk about geo-engineering, as it can have two distinct possible responses: 1) It can encourage apathy in regards to global warming. "The scientists will figure it all out - let's just get on with our lives...", and 2) Outright horror that people would attempt to tinker with life at a planetary level, and an underground movement to stop it.

In the Ted Talks clip below, the speaker, David Keith, takes a look at these issues. Let us know what you think. How do you feel about a very few making decisions for many? What are your thoughts on the ethics of geo-engineering the planet?


Hat tip: AE News

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  • Posted on Nov. 14, 2007. Listed in:

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