I ran into author and Rolling Stone contributing editor Jeff Goodell at Arizona State in Phoenix, where he was a speaker at the Covering the Green Economy conference (I also spoke). Though he had just published a book, the rumpled-looking Goodell didn’t talk about it until prodded by his fellow journalists. The book is How to Cool the Planet (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26), and it’s about geoengineering—scientific approaches to reduce the Earth’s temperature that can achieve positive results without actually reducing the carbon dioxide (CO2) we seem unable to stop pumping into the atmosphere.
Goodell’s book is not science-lite: There’s not a lot of pages devoted to crazed schemes and the dreamers who advance them. Instead, he focuses on some key scientists—including a bleeding-heart liberal who used to organize anti-nuke rallies and a former Dr. Death who created weapons systems with H Bomb designer Edward Teller—who might actually be on to something. The book’s message is that there’s no substitute for reducing CO2 emissions, but given the results of the underachieving Kyoto Treaty and the dramatic failure of COP 15, it doesn’t look like that’s happening anytime soon. And if we continue to ignore the Earth’s dire warnings, geoengineering may be a Hail Mary pass for a planet in trouble. I talked to Goodell after the conference:
MNN: How do you define geoengineering?
GOODELL: The British Royal Society defines it as large-scale, intentional intervention in the climate system to offset global warming. It’s figuring out ways to reduce the amount of sunlight that hits the planet in order to cool things off. It’s also about developing new technologies that could suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in artificial ways in order to reduce concentrations in the atmosphere.
'Climategate' inquiry mostly vindicates climate scientists\n