Geoengineering: The Boomerang Solution to Climate Change


  Critical Question

Why is geoengineering not an effective solution to combating climate change and environmental degradation?



 Although geoengineering could mitigate and reverse certain causes and effects of climate change, there are severe potential repercussions to engineering nature which could, in fact, worsen the climate and environmental crisis.


   Brief Description

       Climate change is the most imminent crisis of our time and drastic action needs to be taken to combat it. Geoengineering is a technology-based solution to climate change and allows humanity to potentially solve the issues of climate change by means of science and technology, rather than by means reducing carbon dioxide output and consumption of goods.  One of the techniques of geoengineering is firing sulfates into the atmosphere to increase earth’s albedo. Higher albedo causes more energy from the sun to be reflected back into space, and in turn, decreases global warming. Geoengineering can also be used for carbon sequestration, a direct response to the surplus of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

      In my paper, I will be addressing how geoengineering could have extremely devastating effects on society and the world in general. Specifically, I will investigate the various potentially negative scientific and social effects of geoengineering. My topic fits under the STS umbrella because I will be investigating the effectiveness of technology in science, particularly geological and environmental science. Furthermore, society plays an exceptionally large role in climate change, and I will be arguing why they should work as a group to combat climate change,  instead of few scientists inventing technology to do so.


 Tentative Outline

        In my introduction I will briefly address how humans are causing climate change and environmental degradation. I will cover what action needs to be taken in order to reverse and mitigate our environmental impact. Next, I will introduce the different ways to decrease environmental impact, one of which is geoengineering. From there, I will explain some of the benefits of geoengineering, and its potential to combat climate change. Finally, I will present a summary of the dangers of geoengineering and state my thesis.

      In my body paragraphs, I will argue why geoengineering is not the solution to climate change. I will first present the various ways geoengineering could fail in terms of its technological functions. I will address how certain technologies could, in fact, worsen climate conditions. For example,  many of the outcomes of geoengineering are unpredictable and there are potentially severe repercussions of intentionally altering a large-scale global system. We have already engineered the climate by pumping carbon dioxide into it, and that has had severe consequences.  Therefore, intentionally altering the climate could prove just as, if not more, horrific. In the next section of my paper I will address the aspects of environmental degradation that geoengineering will not target to the necessary degree, including ocean acidification biodiversity loss. Going off that point I will introduce the “Moral Hazard” and address how geoengineering could reduce other environmental action, as it may seem unnecessary if people think technology can solve environmental issues alone. Based on the previous point I will demonstrate that even if geoengineering were to function as intended, it could still indirectly increase human-driven climate change and environmental degradation.

To conclude my paper I will restate the main points of my argument. I will place a particular emphasis on the question: do we want to let technology control nature? I will state my opinion that no we do not want that, and instead, we need to rely on cutting our carbon emissions and being more environmentally friendly to combat the environment and climate crisis.



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