The scientific consensus on geoengineering — a manipulation of the environment to counteract climate change — has come a long way in the past few years. As recently as 2006, it was unthinkable to many climate scientists that leaders in their field would seriously consider the idea of shooting reflective particles into the atmosphere or dumping massive quantities of iron into the oceans.
“When I first started looking into this in 2006, it was like talking to an insurance salesman about his porn habit,” said Jeff Goodell, whose book on geoengineering, “How to Cool the Planet,” was published on Thursday. “Nobody wanted to talk about it openly.”
These days, however, a growing number of scientists are devoting their careers to researching geoengineering, defined by the British Royal Society as “the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system, in order to moderate global warming.” But while most scientists may agree on the need to study this worst-case approach to addressing the climate crisis, a political consensus on the issue remains a long way off, as liberals and environmentalists have been reluctant to consider this radical solution that some conservatives have been quick to embrace.