Climate policymakers and assessments must get serious about climate engineering

Edward A Parson

Published: August 2017

Keywords: climate, policy, engineering


Climate engineering (CE)—the intentional, global-scale modification of the environment to help offset the effects of elevated greenhouse gases—appears able to reduce climate-change risks beyond what’s possible with mitigation and adaptation alone. Furthermore, the large-scale use of CE is probably essential for achieving prudent climate-change limits, including the Paris target of limiting the average global temperature rise to 1.5–2.0 °C. This conclusion appears unavoidable based on the current level of global greenhouse-gas emissions and the long time-constants of the climate system and the human energy system (e.g., the long atmospheric lifetime of carbon dioxide and the time required for large-scale deployment of new technologies). CE may also enable integrated climate-response strategies that reduce risks in ways not otherwise achievable.

Disciplines: Environment, Science and Technology