I was a little surprised to see a cover article on geo-engineering appear in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs. I was even more shocked to see ocean acidification* acknowledged, a frequent blind spot in many political discussions of geo-engineering. I was less surprised by the absence of realistic discussions of the full timescales (“over 100 years” is one hell of an understatement) a carbon pulse of all/most of our easily minable coal would span.
Reading the article, it’s difficult for me to imagine how geo-engineering would prove to be less of an international treaty/regulatory hassle than emissions reductions- especially while emissions reductions schemes in various forms already exist and the US plans to enact cap and trade during the current Presidential term.
*There’s an upcoming documentary on the subject debuting next month: A Sea Change. It was inspired in part by the filmmaker’s reading of Elizabeth Kolbert’s 2006 piece in the New Yorker, The Darkening Sea.