Sunday, January 13, 2013

Terraforming Earth, one way or the other ...

For the rest of history, we will be required to work at repairing the damage we've already done to the biosphere. Geoengineering, then, has become our ongoing responsibility to life on this planet, including all human generations to come. All of which leads to the question: can we actually design and accomplish any geoengineering projects that would mitigate or reverse climate change? Putting aside issues of political capability, are any of these projects physically possible?
The answer appears to be: yes, some of them are. Maybe.
Reading this, I remembered a haunting passage from Robinson's The Gold Coast where -- after describing life in Orange County in the early 1800's, he writes:
And so all that -- the cattle roaming the open land, the horsemen rounding them up, the adobe homes, the huge ranchos, and the archaic, provincial dignity of the lives of the people on them -- all that went away. 
My fear: our children's children, the ones that study history at least, will know what it was like before the climate changed irreversibly. They'll say, "All that went away ... and we can never get it back."

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