To Geoengineer Or Not to Geoengineer? That Is the Question.

Community perspectives on using solar geoengineering to limit the impacts of climate change were the topic of conversation in a recent SEARCH reading group. SEARCH members and Arctic researchers from Arizona State University gathered to discuss “Bog here, marshland there”: Tensions in co-producing scientific knowledge on solar geoengineering in the Arctic by Ilona Mettiäinen and collaborators. An examination of engaging Arctic Indigenous and local communities in developing geoengineering projects that might help cool the planet, the paper provoked folks and inspired examples. One person remarked at the paper’s key finding that “most participants” (in this case Arctic community members) “seem convinced […] that geoengineering […] should not be deployed because it would bring so much harm to others.” Another saw connection to a recent news story describing how unintentionally geoengineered ship tracks in the north Atlantic masked the severity of climate change. And a third couldn’t help but see parallels with a novel about a fictional future where geoengineering has gone bad. At the American Geophysical Union’s 2023 fall meeting, SEARCH will co-convene a session on geoengineering and other approaches to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions.