(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In a report released this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said it will take very ambitious efforts — a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70 percent by 2050 — to keep climate change at acceptable levels. The dire predictions have some asking whether it’s time to think about geo-engineering: an attempt to use large-scale, high-tech methods to cool the planet. These ideas have included launching giant mirrors into space or fertilizing the oceans with iron to stimulate phytoplankton growth.

Guests:
Ken Caldeira, climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University
Craig Miller, science editor for KQED
David Winickoff, associate professor of bioethics and society in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at UC Berkeley

  • Cal M

    When we have neanderthals in the Senate blocking Presidential appointments b/c those nominees DARE to say global warming is real, perhaps it’ll be up to the scientists to save us after all.

  • chris rubenstein

    You all speak of the potential for spraying the atmosphere to reflect the sun – does anyone not think this is already happening. Every day I look up and see planes spraying the skies.

    If that’s not geo-engineering already in action I would like to know what is being sprayed.

    • Arthur

      It could all be jet engine exhaust, which has a lot of water vapor.

    • Bob Fry

      “Condensation trails”, or contrails for short. Google or wiki it, it’s all explained. It’s just an inadvertent byproduct of jet engine exhaust under some atmospheric conditions, and not deliberate. However I think it does have a measurable or calculable effect on sunlight reaching the earth.

      • chris rubenstein

        Unbelievable. Everytime someone questions the obvious difference between a contrail and the sprays coming from these jets there are people like you who give the same old argument, that mind you the public is not buying anymore. Explain this..

        An ex Air Force whistleblower who worked first hands with the chemicals deployed from these jets.

        • Alan Larson

          Where is her tinfoil hat?

      • k9kilowatt

        just ask yourself one simple question: why did “contrails” not stay in the sky and spread out into a milky haze that lasts for hours PRIOR to the late 1990s? show me ONE photo taken before the late 1990s with persistent contrails and i’ll start to believe that “chemtrails” are just a figment of my imagination. memory contains truth.

  • Ben Rawner

    It’s great to talk about these possibilities, but its impossible to think that countries like China and India, which are terribly corrupt, will adhere to any protocols set by the international community. My Question: would it not be a better idea to actively prepare for the coming Climate Change instead of trying to hold it back? Climate change has been an issue since the 70’s, and nothing of real substance has been done, so can we really expect things to change?

    • willcommentforfood

      There are those in China and India who unfortunately support the reckless geoengineering ideas and are allied with US neocons on environmental issues. I hope they won’t all be in power at the same time, because that will be a huge disaster. Of course, the neocons will be busy creating all sorts of disasters, and one only hopes they won’t get around to geoengineering, which they support. Just think, in our lifetime, these neocon clowns and the dangerous geoengineering fraudsters who don’t understand science or the earth very well at all, could be in power creating disasters we’ve not seen since the nuclear bomb exploded.

  • Arthur

    Putting sulfur in the upper atmosphere to cool the planet sounds like the Krakatoa eruption in 1883. There were major weather pattern changes for years.

  • halberst

    1) Why isn’t population growth at the center of these discussions? 2) Wouldn’t it make more sense for people to move to places where the climate is better than some of these high tech solutions? Basically that’s what’s been happening anyway … there’s been a huge influx into cities in the last century. Maybe they’d just be different cities where climate is better?

    • halberst

      This ended up being a rather strange conversation…at least the parts I heard. A lot of conspiracy theorists on chem trails and no talk about population growth.

      • willcommentforfood

        Yes, and geoengineering is an absolute fraud, junk science.

  • Erik Shepner

    I see aerosol spraying constantly in the sky’s above California. The longer we discuss this as a hypothetical scenario, the longer it will take to have real public discussion about the pros and cons.

  • Wendy Camp Shelton

    What do experts think about ice911? An artificial ice that could be broadly deployed to reflect heat in the arctic?

    • willcommentforfood

      Evidently you’ve never read Vonnegut and Ice-9 and don’t realize the absurd irony of such vast ignorance and the exploitation of such by the geoengineering fraudsters.

      • Wendy Camp Shelton

        Well geez I’d rather try to mitigate warming by restoring a reflective surface than pump sulfur into the atmosphere! It’s silly to reject any approach at this vital stage of our endangered existence (something Vonnegut was very good at pointing out) – especially when the earnest (if misdirected) “frausters” think they have a solution. Let ’em prove it! it might save your backside..

  • Jon Gold

    On a slightly different topic…what about the trapped methane releasing from melting ice!? I understand methane is more ‘damaging’ than CO2.

  • Another Mike

    Regarding the caller — I have seen contrails for 50 years, ever since jets took over from propeller planes. Lying on your back in a Midwest summer, you can watch them criss-cross the sky.

  • Scott Johnson

    Darryl Steinberg just withdrew his proposal for a carbon tax. Robert F. Kennedy in his book “Crimes against Nature” says, ” The Free Market is a good system, we should try it some time.” If we had a carbon tax we would have a solution.

  • pdjmoo

    The causes of climate change are many fold, including the destruction of the chemical balance of our ecosystems and oceans, etc. Climate Geoengineering is a for-profit concept that does not take into account the toxic chemicals that rain down on the planet nor the fact that the weather has no boundaries and drift cannot be controlled therefore the results cannot be controlled and regions of the planet could be adversely impacted creating a greater crisis: CLIMATE GEOENGINEERING: VIDEO CAN WE SAVE THE PLANET BY FURTHER MESSING WITH NATURE? http://sco.lt/5R121p
    And Biofuels have their own problems that must be taken into account : RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT BIOFUELS WILL COST THE EARTH http://sco.lt/5D24ET
    No single action will stop climate change EXCEPT, stop doing what is causing it. Man does not know enough about the planetary biosphere to begin messing further with nature. Myopic Thinking got us into this mess, it won’t get us out

  • Paul Wermer

    and how does geo-engineering deal with ocean (and fresh water) acidification and attendant ecosystem impacts? How would that play into famine scenarios?

    • willcommentforfood

      They’d like to create more of it, because we don’t know how beneficial such actions could be. Wish I was making this stuff up like they are, but no.

  • KMFN

    The populous needs the “ominous” information and more, such as that from several callers, as we haven’t been instructed as to how we can help to save the planet.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Aside from the fox news wacko talk, KALW Radio host, Marty Nemko, wrote that climate change issues are being reported in a biased, ie, ‘green’ fashion. Any comments?

    “I want to reinvent our approach to climate change from one of nearly religious zeal to one of dispassionate agnosticism. ”

    “… Climate Change Reconsidered, (is) a 430-page, September 2011 report written by 11 scientists and sponsored by three climate-change-related nonprofits. (It should be stressed that their questioning the wisdom of making massive efforts to cool the planet remains only a dissent from the dominant position held by the IPCC, Al Gore, etc.)

    “The reinvention I ask for is for scientists, the media, and all of us to recognize that there are responsible narratives other than “The world is doomed unless we spend, virtually without limits, to attempt to cool the planet.” We need to replace the censorship of the dissenting view I outline here with a careful consideration of it. It’s time for research and for debate, not massive spending. There are too many surer ways to spend money and effort to improve humankind: immunizing children in developing countries, better funding research on sudden heart attack, improving the quality of education everywhere so it lives up to its yet unrealized promise as a magic pill.”

    http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2011/06/reinventions-climate-change.html

  • pdjmoo

    Your panel is 100% wrong. There is plenty of scientific evidence that points to the fact that geoengineering could create further weather and biosphere chaos in the planet. The facts are HERE ; CLIMATE GEOENGINEERING COULD THROW THE PLANET INTO IRREVERSIBLE CHAOS http://sco.lt/5R121p.

  • pdjmoo

    For the future, anything we introduce into nature or the biosphere MUST take into account the greater wholistic impact on all life and not continue with this destructive myopic thinking. By applying ourselves to the restoration of the natural balance of our natural world we have a chance. All this talk about geoengineering is simply allowing further destruction of our biosphere so the military industrial mindset and corporate money machine can continue on the same path that got us into this mess. A massive paradigm shift is required if we are to survive.

    • willcommentforfood

      Yes, more understanding of the ecosystem and environmental science is very important. Geoengineering is junk science, and it is very silly to think toxic particles, already causing problems, are going solve problems if applied in gigantic disaster mode proportions with no care for the consequences. It’s a fraud, dangerous and scary.

  • Guest

    We waste lots of megawatts on “vampire power” or electrical appliances like AC adapters (also known as wall warts), that consume electricity even when we turn them off. Why dont we on a national or international level, require manufacturers to engineer differently – to eliminate “standby power” consumption? Consider how useless it is for business and government to leave their computers on all night when no one is using them. We need a routine “turn your computers off at night” practice. How much could be saved?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standby_power
    “That power is consumed by internal or external power supplies, remote control receivers, text or light displays, circuits energized when the device is plugged in even when switched off, etc. Power can be saved by disconnecting such devices, causing at worst only inconvenience.”

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    We waste lots of megawatts on “vampire power” or electrical appliances like AC adapters (also known as wall warts), that consume electricity even when we turn them off. Why dont we on a national or international level, require manufacturers to engineer differently – to eliminate “standby power” consumption?
    Consider also how useless it is for business and government to leave their computers on all night when no one is using them. We need a routine “turn your computers off at night” practice. How much could be saved?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
    “That power is consumed by internal or external power supplies, remote control receivers, text or light displays, circuits energized when the device is plugged in even when switched off, etc. Power can be saved by disconnecting such devices, causing at worst only inconvenience.”

    • Another Mike

      How would my Blu-Ray player get software updates if it wasn’t in standby mode?

      • Fay Nissenbaum

        when you turn you computer on, silly.

        • Another Mike

          I tried it — a full update took twenty minutes. My wife got tired of waiting and went to bed.

  • Josh Snead

    Here’s a list of patents, many of which describe aspects of the “chemtrail” phenomenon we see overhead each day, created by those who have developed this technology over the last 80 years or so. Are these trails which form clouds a conspiracy, or do you think it’s a coincidence that what these patents describe now appear overhead nearly every day?

    This whole show seemed to me to be a product intro by marketing people from the companies that plan to profit from these techno-fixes. This whole concept is carefully being sold to the public, and as things get worse, people will beg for these technologies. There are vast fortunes to be made, and levels of human control that are hard to comprehend when we consider the possibility of weaponized weather, and that is exactly what these people are working to put into place.

    The brisk downplay of the informed callers that suggested that this program may already be underway was insulting and disingenuous. To say that the fact that scientists aren’t finding aluminum, barium or strontium in the rainwater, after NOT looking for these chemicals represents proof that stratospheric geoengineering isn’t already underway is ridiculous.

    Peruse some patents and see if you are a conspiracy theorist, or a coincidence theorist:

    http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org/links-to-geoengineering-patents/

    • pdjmoo

      Yes indeed, the whole show did sound like a marketing campaign by the companies who will profit from geoengineering http://sco.lt/5R121p I wonder who is funding Ken Caldeira’s and David Winickoff’s research and labs? I find it questionable that these reputable scientists spoke from such a one-sided point-of-view. Feels like they are a mouthpiece for Obama’s new Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and perhaps laying the groundwork for an Obama announcement, or at least testing the waters. Ken Caldeira is also pro-nuclear http://sco.lt/4zkb0j as is Sec. Moniz

  • Raja

    Anything we do in the name of “science application” we have seen always a side effect. I mean this applies to the idea of repairing effect also.

    Here we are talking about injecting carbon into earth instead atmosphere. I guess we are not solving anything.. instead we are finding a new issue with out understanding possible outcome. At first it may look ‘green’.. once we implement we feel the ‘heat’ ( I meant side effect) as per the history so far we have been seeing..

    I’m a science lover and graduated in science. But I feel scientific solution in the name of touching anything in the nature is not going to help. we never ever will be able to solve anything for nature.. it should cure itself.. and it has its own capability.. but we are not giving time to settle down…

    Only thing, we can do about is.. minimize our necessities…its individual’s responsibilities! not any country government’s duty alone..no point in blaming each

    Nature is like human body…. we know.. any antibiotic’s
    effect on human body.. like that we are playing with nature with our so called ‘solution
    for one issue…’ and bring another issue.. We need to draw a line in human need and live quality (basic) life..

    also.. scienctific findings can help us understand better about nature.. don’t
    try to correct our mistakes by implementing another finding.. (again that also
    limited.. ) and it will cause new issue.. again in future..

    It is supply – demand issue….if we reduce our usage in
    ‘all’ sense, we can reduce the adverse effect

    And another point.. I never heard anyone talking or
    researching about, increased communication possible cause for increase in
    global warming? or climate change?

    When we talk about string theory.. why not the electromagnetic waves that we
    generate every possible minutes, couldn’t affect our atmosphere?..

    I would like to hear experts comments on that..

  • Josh Snead
  • k9kilowatt

    http://stopsprayingus-sf.com/ Protest today at the EPA !!!

  • Guest

    krasny said he wan’t to do a whole show on conspiracy theories. i say we give the guy some credit and tell him to go for it. my dial would be glued.

  • k9kilowatt

    that guy caldeira makes me ashamed to have a stanford degree… on the
    other hand, krasny said he should do a whole show on conspiracy
    theories. i like krasny. i say we give the guy some credit and urge him
    to do just that. if you’re reading this krasny, more power to you! you
    have eyeballs too and i’m sure you’ve seen the suspicious trails around
    here as much as we have– trails that never lingered long in the skies
    of years past, back when contrails were just contrails and would quickly
    fade to blue.

  • BlueNH

    Geoengineering is frightening, but it might be the only thing that gives us an extra decade or two to change our way of life and save the planet. Maybe algae fuel will put gas and oil out of business. Maybe solar will replace coal-fired power plants. Maybe tidal power will supply energy to big cities. Who knows until we try it?

    Saving the Arctic ice cap is of utmost importance. Once it’s gone, there is no bringing it back and the loss of the ice will destroy the climate in the Northern Hemisphere. But the irony is that the Arctic nations are drooling over the vast fossil fuel reserves which are opening up as the ice melts.

    Who would have ever imagined that Canada would be heating up the boreal forest to extract oil? I think that if newborn babies provided more energy than bitumen, the Koch brothers would figure a way to employ surrogates to produce millions of extra fuel-babies. Greed, one of the deadly sins. Alive and well in the 21st century.

  • Rayvyn007

    Boy, it seems that the conspiracy loonies are coming out of the woodwork. There are no such things as chemtrails. When you go into a cloud and take a sample of the CONTRAILS you will see it’s not chemtrails. They do spray stuff like cloud seeding and such but it’s announced and you can test for the silver oxide or whatever. It’s so easy these days to convince dumb, ignorant and gullible fools that the trails behind planes are all chemicals being sprayed for evil reasons by the government. It’s no wonder, look at the sorry state of education in this country. Couple that with listening to whackos like George Noory and Alex Jones and you get what we have now, lots of people who believe in the chemtrail nonsense.

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