The great global warming debate – our experts are being asked about the ethics behind controlling earth’s climate

The great global warming debate – our experts are being asked about the ethics behind controlling earth’s climate

March 30, 20212 min read

Solar geoengineering - it’s a topic that has caused an ethical lightening storm in the science community. The concept is complex. Should the world take on the crisis of climate change by attempting to artificially attempting to cool the earth? It’s an idea that has the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine seeking a billion dollars in the next five years to investigate the theory.

It’s a topic that is somewhat controversial, and journalists are looking to leading experts from across America for expert insight, opinion and perspective.

Prakash Kashwan, a political scientist at the University of Connecticut, said he felt the report could have better emphasized the seriousness of some concerns over others. Uncertainties about the impacts of solar geoengineering on global weather patterns have the potential to affect some regions of the world more severely than others, he pointed out.

Some experts have raised concerns about potential effects of geoengineering on monsoon rainfall in parts of Asia and Africa, he said. More than 2 billion people around the world rely on these rainfall patterns to support their water and agricultural needs. These kinds of issues should be given special weight, Kashwan suggested.

"Some uncertainties are much more highly consequential for the global society, and especially for the poor and vulnerable," he told E&E News.
Kashwan also reiterated concerns about potential political effects. While the report makes clear that geoengineering is not a substitute for climate mitigation, he suggests that this doesn't necessarily prevent policymakers from using it in that way.

"The problem is the extent to which researchers are really helpless in deciding how research is used in the political system," he said. "That part has yet to be fully appreciated."

Kashwan suggests that more dialogue might be warranted before funding a national research program, with greater input from both the international community and political experts who can weigh in on the ways that geoengineering research might affect political decisions.

March 26, Scientific American

It's a captivating idea – but it could have political, social and ethical consequences. Dr. Kashwan has also been interviewed by The New York Times.

If you are a journalist looking to learn more about solar geoengineering, its possibilities and the reasons some scientists are worried – then let us help with your coverage.

Prakash Kashwan is an Associate Professor of Political Science at UConn and an expert in the areas of environmental and climate justice, planetary justice, global commons, climate governance, and climate geoengineering governance. Dr. Kashwan is available to speak with media regarding this topic – simply click on his icon now to arrange an interview today.

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