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Engineering the Climate: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management Paperback – 5 Dec 2013


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This well-written, well-edited work makes the assumption that solar radiation management (SRM) would be accomplished by putting reflective aerosols into the atmosphere since the world is not doing much to alleviate global warming in other ways. However, the book is not primarily concerned with the actual method. Contributors recognize that scientists will have difficulty predicting the effects (e.g., local climate changes) of SRM. They cover various issues, such as the fact that using SRM may prevent people from taking firm measures to control CO2 emissions. Authors also explore the ramifications for future generations, who will probably need to continue the practice of SRM; the importance of involving poor and marginalized peoples in decisions about SRM; and effects on nonhuman species. In addition, the book includes chapters suggesting that SRM might be used to help solve other social problems, rather than causing new ones, and that it is foolish to deal with the moral choices involved in using SRM without considering people's religion and other matters. This is a wide-ranging and important book, apparently the only one on the subject--scholarly, but accessible to intelligent readers who are not geoengineers or ethicists. Good index and excellent scholarly apparatus. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. CHOICE The pursuit of geoengineering requires us to ameliorate the fundamental dichotomy between taking responsibility for the climate future of our planet and the hubris of intentional management of the complex Earth system. So far, it can be argued, we have done a poor job of accepting responsibly for the future climate and we have a history of causing negative unintended consequences when we try. Never-the-less, we can no longer escape this problem. There is no hope of 'going back to nature,' and we have to find better ways to manage our home planet. The study of the ethical ramifications is one important part of this effort and this new volume illuminates many of the issues and provides a good basis for furthering our scholarship and societal decisions on this most difficult issue. -- Jane Long, Associate Director at Large, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Geoengineering is a new and vitally important topic, and this is the first major collection on the ethical issues. Its insights are a service not just to students and their professors, but also to humanity at large. -- Stephen Gardiner, University of Washington

About the Author

Christopher J. Preston is an Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics at the University of Montana. He is the author of Saving Creation: Nature and Faith in the Life of Holmes Rolston, III (Trinity University Press, 2009) and Grounding Knowledge: Environmental Philosophy, Epistemology, and Place (University of Georgia Press, 2003), an edited collection of essays titled Nature Value, and Duty: Life on Earth with Holmes Rolston, III (Springer, 2007), and a special issue of the journal Ethics and the Environment on the "Epistemic Significance of Place."

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