Monday, 23 April 2012


I read with great interest James Cameron's comments on the Titanic story and its use as an analogy to climate change:

He's right of course, the class of ticket you held dictated your likelihood of survival, a key point often missed in climate debates until recently. I regularly get asked if I am worried for my grandchildren - I often answer simply 'no'. This is, of course, not really true - we are stewards for the planet our grandchildren will inherit and we are making a horrible mess of that job. However, my grandchildren will probably be in a much better situation than those who are less able/cannot afford to adapt.

Some key questions/observations emerge - and these have been pondered a great deal already:

Have we (or are we definitely going to) hit the iceberg?
I'm not the person to answer this, but my colleagues responses could be collectively summed up as 'Not yet, but we will'. Their meaning is that if we cut carbon dioxide emissions to zero tomorrow we'd stay below two degrees of warming, but that's not going to happen is it?

Your value, and definition, of nature drives how far you are willing to go to sustain and protect it. Earth Day passed virtually unnoticed in the news yesterday. The simple truth is that people don't care that much. Why shouldn't today be an Earth Day too?

How will our relationship with nature (or what we take for nature) change if we invoked SRM?
Does it matter if our skies are less blue? Personally, I think, were that the only side effect, it might be a price worth paying BUT I've started to realise that our perception of nature must ultimately change if make tangible, intentional, global scale changes to climate. Nothing will be natural, nothing will be wild - I'm not sure I can live with that?

Does that make 'geoengineers' lifeboat designers?
A far too soft an analogy - pushing what is already discomfort in positivity far beyond my limits. For starters it was better to be in a lifeboat than not - we can't say that's true for CE.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Some thinking...

I feel like Climate Engineering (CE) - a much clearer term than geoengineering by the way - stands on something of a cusp. There is little doubt that CE is more visible and that it is not the taboo it once was. Most of what I hear feels sensible, humble and restrained, especially from those wrestling with the really big questions. The issue of intellectual property is now being further explored, especially by David Keith and others in the US and there has been a very interesting discusssions on fora various. We have been working on an ethical statement for SPICE about our intentions - it currently stands as follows...

  • The SPICE project is a feasibility study and does not endorse deployment of any climate engineering technologies
  • The SPICE team is committed to openness and transparency
  • All results developed from the SPICE project (including foreground IP) will be placed in the public domain
  • No profit will be made during the SPICE project, through climate engineering, by the SPICE team
I know it needs some thinking about and there are some challenging issues but, after having spoken to the SPICE team I think it's important we make our intentions clear, again.