Nov 8, 2023Liked by Maxwell Tabarrok

It's also the only way to avoid the negative impacts of climate change that are either already here or will show up in the next few decades. I don't think anyone can say "climate change is already here and going to get worse" but also oppose geoengineering. It will buy us time to get to net zero - and net negative.

I wrote a bit about this last year:


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I agree with most of this article and think that geoengineering should be taken much more seriously by people thinking about climate policy. There are a few minor technical points I would like to correct:

It is common to distinguish between reflections, which prevent the heat from reaching earth's surface, and radiation as a result of the heat at earth's surface, rather than lumping them together into a single cooling effect.

The largest magnitude volcanic eruption in the twentieth century was Novarupta, in 1912. Mount Pinatubo is second largest volcanic eruption in the twentieth century, and was much more carefully studied because it's more recent.

It's 0.008% of US GDP.

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Nov 9, 2023Liked by Maxwell Tabarrok

Facts like these make me less worried about climate change. The answers are here, we have them. It's just a matter of will.

Ideally, we would implement a limited carbon tax to reduce future emissions and could easily then apportion those funds to geoengineering to undo past damage. It wouldn't be difficult or catastrophic to anyone's lives.

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I honestly do not know whether it is a good idea or not, but until climate activists strongly endorse a proposal like this, it is hard for me to take them seriously. They are already against carbon capture, natural gas, nuclear and hydropower.

You cannot just say that we are 100% sure that we are headed towards global disaster, but then be adamantly opposed to any solutions that might possibly work.

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To clarify, its a very bad idea if one sole actor decides to take it upon themself. Its only incredibly dangerous if it's attempted at all, even by global agreement. The analogy I like to use is: its like pulling bricks out of a brick wall one by one. At some point the wall might fall, but its hard to predict. Climate is far more complex than the single metric of mean global temperature. It is full of non linear feedback mechansims that geoengineering could unlock (low likelihood, but non-zero chance with high confidence).

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The geoengineering proposed here is an astoundingly bad idea for the unavoidable fact of responsibility and accountability. Sure, it's hard to predict the future, but if one organization performs this engineering, then anyone whose crops fail the following year has a claim against them as culpable since it's hard to know exactly which parts of the global system reacted with drought, increased heat, more rain, etc to the geoengineering. If something like this were attempted, every person on earth should have to buy in before hand, at least through some form of representation. Or, some form of global support for anyone affected would have to be set up.

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Has anyone actually read chapter 11, "Extreme weather", of the 6th assessment report of the IPCC?

That’s the latest report, released early 2022. When I ask "has anyone read?" I don’t mean the press release, the executive summary, or the summaries for each section (heatwaves, droughts, floods, storms). I mean the boring 95 pages that capture what experts in the field actually say.

You might be surprised.

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