Geoengineering and the Fight against Climate Change: Maggie on "To the Point" radio show (audio)


Two of my favorite people talk about one of my favorite topics, all on the same radio program. Our very own Maggie Koerth-Baker was interviewed by my friend (and former NPR colleague) Alex Chadwick on KCRW's daily show "To the Point" today, to talk about "Geoengineering and the fight against climate change."

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything; and when people repeat that witticism, they make it sound as though someone should. Now, someone may. Geoengineering. Guest host Alex Chadwick explores whether we could use technology to alter the atmosphere and cool the warming planet. What could go wrong with that? There are scientists who think we should start trying to research exactly these questions.

Direct MP3 link, or you can play the program in your web browser here.

Alex has been doing a lot of interesting journalism around energy issues lately, most notably with BURN: An Energy Journal. He was sitting in for host Warren Olney today.


  1. Since we are unable, as a species, apparently, to do anything simple to reduce global warming, we will almost certainly have to resort to geoengineering at some point.  Unfortunately, I think we will be very bad at it, for many of the same reasons we aren’t able to get a consensus to do something like reducing CO2 emissions in the present.  Everyone will have an opinion, and ideology and business interests will dominate science.  It will be like balancing an elephant on a pin point while being heckled loudly and obnoxiously.   Theoretically possible, but the consequences of small mistakes might be lethal. 

  2. Even though I follow conspiracy theories, I admit that until recently Agenda 21 was off of my radar.  A Google search was depressing; the “fight” against the U.N. taking over the world has led patriots to fight against everything from sustainable business practices to green energy and even bicycle lanes.  Heck, the GOP has even made it part of their platform; little do their otherwise skeptical conspiracy-theorist supporters realize that this is mostly a play to make sure inner-city people, instead of riding their bikes to the community garden to do an honest day’s work, will instead pay a fee to let a vehicle powered by petroleum products drive them to a place that sells industrial farming products.

  3. Geoengineering is going to be big in the future. The tar/oil sands will be exploited, China and India will continue industrializing, and the question will not be if, but when and how we start geoengineering.

  4. I think we love the fight (and the metaphore of war) more than the solution in some respects….maybe loved with the pie in the sky notion that the dispersed energy of the sun or wind could somehow become a benign and yet powerful source of energy from which would spring world peace and justice …and for all I can tell, unicorns. We do have relatively good and certain, and relatively low tech, ways to remove CO2 from the atomoshpere already and yet they are ignored: tree planting and sequestering, for instance. There are also new safer methods of generating nuclear energy but our anti-science attitude about this particular science, which seems to hinge on ideological economic reasons more than anything else (depriving the big power companies from the role they now have (stickin’ it to the man, and all that)), prevents its even being included when discussing ways to reduce emissions. I like windmills and solar panel and other similar approaches because they make our energy profile so flexible and will help bring development to a lot of the world where energy is currently lacking and way too expensive already, but the power our civilization requires to advance to a point where we’re capable of bringing the benefits so many of us enjoy (clean production and efficient recycling in manufacturing things like computers and zero-emission vehicles) is just not a matter of rooftop solar panels. I don’t see how we’ll ever get to the asteroids on gossamer wings. Cheers.

  5.  While i love the idea of engineering at such a grand scale i am slightly worried about tinkering with something we do not fully understand while our survival depends on it.

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