Brian Merchant in Motherboard:
Geoengineering—basically, hacking the planet's climate system to cool it off—is a touchy subject. So touchy that some argue it shouldn't be touched at all. Yet 300 scientists, policymakers, legal experts, and NGOs have traveled to Berlin precisely to discuss it, in its biggest public forum yet.
That paradox is central to understanding the concept of climate engineering, which scares just about everybody who actually works on it. But so does the prospect that humanity might not reduce its carbon emissions in time to stave off catastrophic global warming.
“We have to decide what it would mean if humans were to try to take control of the world's climate,” said Dr. Mark Lawrence, the scientific director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, who delivered the opening remarks.
As such, the first two days of the Climate Engineering Conference 2014 offers what we could plausibly consider an accurate snapshot of the current state of geoeningeering: Interested scientists are calling for more research and proposing new ideas for climate control; public institutions and politicians are weary of getting too involved; humanitarian groups are worried about the ramifications; and legal scholars are already declaring the most ambitious geoengineering proposals “ungovernable.”
And a few staunch advocates want to put the pedal down, hard.
Regardless, more parties than ever are taking seriously the notion that geoengineering may become a reality.