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Geo-engineering Oversight Agency for Thermal Stabilization (GOATS)


Geo-engineering Oversight Agency for Thermal Stabilization
Geo-engineering remedies for global warming
Misapplication of complex technology to narrowly defined closed systems
Avoidance of intractable problems
Misapplication of "firefighting" strategy used for financial "meltdown"
Technocratic arrogance and untrustworthiness?
Evaluating geo-engineering proposals for vulnerability to past failures
Conclusion: Application of irresponsible science and technology on a planetary scale?

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An editorial in the journal New Scientist (Time to rank the best ideas to engineer the climate, 29 October 2008) has just echoed the proposal of Philip W. Boyd (Ranking Geo-engineering Schemes, Nature Geoscience, 2008, 1, 26 October 2008, pp. 722 - 724) who argues:

Geo-engineering proposals for mitigating climate change continue to proliferate without being tested. It is time to select and assess the most promising ideas according to efficacy, cost, all aspects of risk and, importantly, their rate of mitigation.

The New Scientist editorial notes that by coincidence, the UK's Royal Society had just launched such a study. The editorial also cites Boyd to the effect that: "We will reach a tipping point, and none of the schemes will have been tested".

Boyd proposes that an international body, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, rank the schemes according to risk, cost, effectiveness and how quickly they could get off the ground.

Such framings of the challenge imply that the problem has been well analyzed by a selection of natural science disciplines, who are now prepared to assess and recommend solutions supplied by technologists in a period when wider society has every reason to be extremely concerned about the trustworthiness of experts regarding global systems. It implies that, as with the crisis of the financial system, a "tipping point" will provide the political justification to ensure that the best ranked technical solution will be rammed through as a form of technical "bailout". This will presumably be effected by a policy group claiming to act wisely in the best interests of all -- despite views to contrary.

After reviewing a selection of proposals, the following argument focuses on the blinkered perspective which is being brought to the analysis of climate change and actions considered appropriate, especially in the light of the track record of projects of equivalent global scope.

From that perspective the following argument recommends the establishment of a Geo-engineering Oversight Agency for Thermal Stabilization (GOATS) as an appropriately named body within which to focus on such geo-engineering solutions and to be appropriately tracked in turn.

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