Wednesday, July 22, 2009

American Meteorological Society cautious on geoengineering

A Policy Statement of the American Meteorological Society: …Even if reasonably effective and beneficial overall, geoengineering is unlikely to alleviate all of the serious impacts from increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

…Still, the threat of climate change is serious. Mitigation efforts so far have been limited in magnitude, tentative in implementation, and insufficient for slowing climate change enough to avoid potentially serious impacts. Even aggressive mitigation of future emissions cannot avoid dangerous climate changes resulting from past emissions, because elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations persist in the atmosphere for a long time. Furthermore, it is unlikely that all of the expected climate-change impacts can be managed through adaptation. Thus, it is prudent to consider geoengineering’s potential benefits, to understand its limitations, and to avoid ill-considered deployment. Therefore, the American Meteorological Society recommends:

1. Enhanced research on the scientific and technological potential for geoengineering the climate system, including research on intended and unintended environmental responses.

2. Coordinated study of historical, ethical, legal, and social implications of geoengineering that integrates international, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational issues and perspectives and includes lessons from past efforts to modify weather and climate.

3. Development and analysis of policy options to promote transparency and international cooperation in exploring geoengineering options along with restrictions on reckless efforts to manipulate the climate system.

Geoengineering will not substitute for either aggressive mitigation or proactive adaptation, but it could contribute to a comprehensive risk management strategy to slow climate change and alleviate some of its negative impacts. The potential to help society cope with climate change and the risks of adverse consequences imply a need for adequate research, appropriate regulation, and transparent deliberation.

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