Download Hack the Planet: Science's Best Hope - or Worst Nightmare - by Eli Kintisch PDF

By Eli Kintisch

An inside of travel of the incredible—and most likely dangerous—plans to counteract the results of weather swap via experiments that diversity from the believable to the wonderful

David Battisti had arrived in Cambridge awaiting a massacre. So had a few of the different scientists who had joined him for an invitation-only workshop on weather technological know-how in 2007, with geoengineering on the most sensible of the schedule. we won't take intentionally changing the ambience heavily, he inspiration, simply because there’s no method we will ever be aware of sufficient to regulate it. yet via the second one day, with undesirable weather information piling on undesirable weather information, he was once having moment options. whilst the scientists voted in a straw ballot on even if to help geoengineering learn, Battisti, jam-packed with worry in regards to the destiny, voted in favor.

While the pernicious results of worldwide warming are transparent, efforts to lessen the carbon emissions that reason it have fallen a ways wanting what’s wanted. a few scientists have all started exploring extra direct and radical how one can cool the planet, such as:

  • Pouring reflective pollutants into the higher atmosphere
  • Making clouds brighter
  • Growing huge, immense blooms of algae within the ocean

Schemes that have been technology fiction quite a few years in the past became earnest plans being studied via alarmed scientists, decided to prevent a weather disaster. In Hack the Planet, technology  magazine reporter Eli Kintisch appears extra heavily at this array of principles and characters, asking if those dicy schemes will paintings, and simply how geoengineering is altering the world.

Scientists are constructing geoengineering concepts for worst-case eventualities. yet what might these determined occasions seem like? Kintisch outlines 4 situations: collapsing ice sheets, megadroughts, a catastrophic methane unlock, and slowing of the worldwide ocean conveyor belt.

As marvelous and outlandish as a lot of those plans could appear, might they quickly develop into our in basic terms desire for keeping off calamity? Or will the plans of fantastic and well-intentioned scientists reason unforeseeable failures as they play out within the actual international? And does the arrival of geoengineering suggest that humanity has failed in its function as steward of the planet—or taken on a brand new accountability? Kintisch lays out the chances and hazards of geoengineering in a time of planetary tipping issues. His research is needed analyzing because the debate over worldwide warming shifts as to whether humanity should still Hack the Planet .

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Extra info for Hack the Planet: Science's Best Hope - or Worst Nightmare - for Averting Climate Catastrophe

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Nine months before the Harvard meeting discussed in chapter 1 had come the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 report, six years in the making. If this was another authoritative and gloomy report in a seemingly endless string, the 2,928-page document was unusually authoritative and particularly gloomy. The product of work by roughly twenty-five hundred scientists, it described the steady changes that had marked the Anthropocene’s first chapter. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hadn’t been this high for at least 650,000 years, having skyrocketed since 1970 and accelerating.

We’ve created a climate change scenario that although not the most likely, is plausible, and would challenge United States national security,” the report said. Since the report, says Peter Schwartz, one of the authors, the likelihood of abrupt changes has only increased. Each factor that would bring them about has grown worse. “Many of the significant climate factors which we thought had longer time constants are coming up faster: ecosystem movements, temperature, glacial melting, sea ice,” he said.

The outlook for farmers—and the rest of us, who rely on their labors every day—is unpromising as we race into our greenhouse century. For a number of years, scientists were optimistic that rising temperatures and more carbon dioxide—the main food that plants need to grow—would help plants and therefore boost agriculture. However, while that may be the case in some regions, recent findings suggest that the greenhouse world of the twenty-first century will mean drier soils in already arid areas, less rain in places that need it, well-fed weeds, and more persistent pests.

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