tv Debate on Climate Engineering CSPAN January 12, 2014 9:03am-10:49am EST
>> fundamentally not change the underlying operation of the program in the house and the senate. republicans and democrats in the judiciary committees are just in a different place. and so the congress is split, i think, on these two. >> last night president obama said to chris matthews that, you know, he's planning to make changes. he didn't specify what they were, and as you know, this group at the white house is working on thinking through what those changes might be. do you have any sense, any predictions about what is likely able to happen, what is politically able to fly on the hill? >> i think this is an open question as to what the review group will recommend and what -- >> who is in the review group in. >> a variety of individuals appointed by president obama. i think the two most recognizable figures are michael morrell -- >> who now works for you. >> who now works at the firm i am at and working at, and
richard clark who was the counterterrorism adviser for clinton and for bush. and they and along with some others are charged with reviewing, essentially, the question of how to we reconcile -- how do we reconcile the tension between security and privacy and civil liberties. and so i don't know what's in their report. i expect it'll be aggressive. i expect president obama will speak to it. in a matter of weeks. and this will drive the legislative agenda at least on intelligence next year. >> great. well, let's throw it open to your questions. if you have a question, can you wait for the mic and identify yourself and raise your hand? no questions. [inaudible conversations] >> you dealt with everything. >> that's right. they're satisfied. [laughter] >> [inaudible] mike, we've talked about this before. the connect-the-dots point that
you made is really interesting, and you started off your speech by saying the cia had all these functions, but in addition to them, it had the function of coordination. but it didn't have the authority to really make that happen. um, seems to me that that coordination function, who wants that? i mean, do the intelligence agencies really want a coordinator, or would they prefer to be left alone? and i get to that question because, as you outlined, we're still sort of stuck with that question where there is a coordinator, but it's not really resourced. you don't really have the authorities to perform that function in an unambiguous way where you have control of people's budgets and people's institutions. >> and as a sort of follow-up to that, can you point to sort of, you know, an evolution with the director of national intelligence where you think that he, east the president or
the -- either the president or the previous one, specific examples where they've really had this role, where it's more than just sort of window dressing. >> right. i think he was on to something. i mean, one of the points of the book is that the congress didn't spend enough time discussing the relationship between the cia and the dni. i think on the one happened, cia didn't want to be blamed for 9/11 and didn't hike the idea that they would, perhaps, have a new boss. but on the other hand, i don't think they wanted and are probably glad today that they're not vested with coordinating other intelligence entities. i've heard general hayden say he's not sure how his predecessors were able to do all of the work that was required across these different mission areas in the central intelligence agency. but by the same token, i don't think the cia wants to have the dni trying to get between the cia and the national security council. as you know, the national security could council and the a
have a very intimate role in every presidency virtually. of course, we're aware of all the famous stories from the eisenhower and kennedy years about what the cia was doing for those prime ministers, and that's -- those prime ministers, and that's -- presidents, and that's the source of the relationship. presidents over time wanted to affect national security policy and realized that a they didn't have enough tools to do it or at least didn't have what they wanted to be able to do in sort of a medium course of action between diplomacy and between military action. i think that's why they rely on covert action to this day, as a lever to influence national events. and i don't think the cia wanted an interloper. they don't want the dni trying to play an oversight role over what their activities are. >> you know, a couple of -- speaking of oversight, do you think, i mean, there have been a variety of discussions about how
we could make the drone program more accountable, and some of them, i think, are kind of unworkable. for instance, having a sort of pre-review board, i think there's going to be problems about that because, you know, things move quickly -- >> right. >> what about an after-action review? because i think it's just natural in life if somebody's quaiding your homework -- grading your homework, you're going to spend more effort perhaps making sure it's 100% accurate. and also we have an advantage that the military routinely -- [inaudible] where we kill civilians. we don't do that. if we inadvertently kill civilians in a cia drone strike. i mean, is there anything that we could do, wearing your past intelligence committee chief of staff hat that is realistic to make the program, you know, obviously president obama gave a big speech on may 23rd talking
about some changes. nothing really very substantive seems to have happened although the number of drone strikes in pakistan have dropped pretty dramatically. so of the proposals that are out there, is there anything that actually makes sense? >> i think this gets to the issue of congressional oversight. >> yeah. >> i mean, having worked in congress for so many years, the reason these committees were set up is precisely so that there is a check on and an oversight of aggressive intelligence community action. a lot of people fault the congress for not doing aggressive enough oversight. i think the congress could do a better job of explaining what they do, and i think there's definitely room out there for more scholarship on what the appropriate role of oversight is. but i think most members of congress, at least the chairman of the two committees, would say that's our job. it's our job to check the homework of the central intelligence agency.
we think we're doing a pretty good job of it. not that there couldn't be more or that there couldn't be some of the reforms that you suggest. but it really gets down to do you want to use the intelligence committees for the purposes they were created for, or do you want to create new be institutions so that they also will have a check on what the agency is up to. >> yeah. well, i guess the argument in favor of maybe having some independent body that was outside would be, you know, the intelligence committees, you know, they're very close to the people that they -- >> right. >> and it's a relatively small group of people, you know, what the sort of counterargument might be. anyway, do you think there will be -- i mean, one of the ideas, of course, was to migrate that all into dod and make it no longer a cia function, and that doesn't seem to have happened so far because it's complicated to do, it seems the main reason. >> yeah. judging from the paper, i'm not sure that it's actually happened. i don't know, i mean, i guess if you subscribe to the view that
cia ought to be sticking to collection of intelligence and analysis, then you feel better with the migration of authority to the department of defense. but i don't know how that necessarily leads to increased oversight. i guess the theory is dod would be able to talk about it more, and others would be able to check their work more. >> yeah, i think that's part of it. and it is, obviously, sending an armed bomb into somebody's house is a military function, and it, you know, traditionally the cia, i mean, obviously, oss had a sort of quasi-military function function. there's no particular reason why it should be a cia function -- >> right. >> i guess, is the whole idea. and the apparatus at the department of defense be, justice, jags who are sort of at fault in these decisions all the time -- >> that's right. so the argument is it would have increased oversight. i think the dni does at least play some role in or awareness about these particular problem
programs. justice department does have to opine on their legality, and the white house, i think, does do a lot of work. i know the bush white house does on trying to oversee these issues. so there are a lot of layers. i don't think -- i know this is a big issue. i don't know that congress is going to particularly get involved in that. i know they are really seized with the national security agency issues, but we'll see how this developpings. >> if you do the board experiment where nsa, had those leaks hadn't happened -- >> right. >> -- i think there was growing movement. you started to get public hearings, i testified in one, there was more public discussion. because, essentially, this is the worst-kept secret in the world. a drone attack is a public event. i mean, there's been a lot of -- so there seemed to be more movement around discussing it, and the president's obviously talks about it. talk a little -- edward snowden. has he performed a useful public
service? we're having a discussion in a much more informed way about what the nsa does whether you can degree or disagree with what -- agree or disagree with what they're doing, but be he broke the law. you know, he was, he broke the law. but that's a different question than did he perform a public service when he broke the law. >> well, i'm more of the view of having written this book and having studied a lot of the commission reports about intelligence failures, you know, it's worth noting that just as long as -- as short as ten years ago commission reports were beating up the national security agency for not keeping up with technological change, not collecting enough information, collecting bad information on iraq wmd. indeed, the major commission work that examined the iraq wmd program actually faulted nsa for a variety of problems. so i sort of want to make sure that we don't legislate in anger about what the national security
agency has done, because the reason that they have mounted some of these programs is they were listening to what their political leadership said. and, indeed, arguably what much of the country was demanding after september 11th and after iraq which is that they needed to do a better job of providing a warning to our policymakers so that they might be able to avert a disaster like 9/11. and so, um, i want to be careful that we don't just whip saw the intelligence community one five-year period, you better get a lot better very quickly, and the you do, we're going to get very mad at you because you were too good at some of the things you were doing. >> it seemed this group that is advising president obama, mike morrell and richard clark, who other is on it? >> there was peter swire, i believe he was a lawyer out there in chicago in a commission
on american progress, the committee on american progress here. and the other two are escaping, although i know -- >> okay. it sort of sounds like a nonpartisan group or expert, i mean, morrell is a very nonpartisan guy. dick clark worked for both bush and -- democrat and republican administrations. >> i think the people have seen it in different ways. i've seen criticism that they're all insiders -- >> yeah. >> -- cronies of the president. i've seen some people say you shouldn't have two people on there that have such intelligence backgrounds, and then i've heard people say, well, there isn't a real strong defender maybe except for michael morrell of the intelligence community. i think it depends on where you sit how you see the commission report, and i think we're going to have to read it to develop -- >> do you think it'll be public? >> yes. >> great. and when do you think it's going to come out? >> well, i think it's going to come out in december -- >> that was the theory, yeah. >> but i'm not done there. i don't know for sure.
i know the government shutdown probably complicated their work, but i hear around town that it's coming out soon. >> this gentleman over here. >> [inaudible] >> wait for the microphone for one second, because that way c-span viewers can hear what you're saying. >> bill tucker. is our intelligence good enough that now in the coordination of it to prevent another 9/11, or do we know? >> well, i think we have to kind of look at the record. we have, i think, prevented another major 9/11-style attack at least, and so i think the intelligence community has undoubtedly -- >> what are you referring to? >> i'm referring to generally the fact that nothing of that scale has happened. i'm talking about other plots that have been foiled that you speak and write about and know very well. some have slipped past like abdulmutallab, and we got lucky in that we were able to prevent that -- >> abdulmutallab was the so-called underwear bomber. >> the underwear bomber. >> 2009. so that actually goes to some of
the big themes of your book which is the dni and national counterterrorism center, they were supposed to make sure that -- because there were saturdays of information in the -- shards of information in the system, obviously easy to see postevent, the dad dropped the dime on his son. >> right. >> he was on a sort of secondary list, a list for people to go into secondary. if he'd got to detroit, he would have gone into secondary for additional screening. so that was a kind of example where the apparatus didn't quite work, or maybe that's an unfair critique of the apparatus. >> well, so it gets down to what you think, you know -- >> tw yeah, should it be -- >> a mission of intelligence. >> yeah. >> are you going to be able to prevent every little event. >> yeah. >> and i think the answer is, no, you're not going to always be able to operate perfectly. but to the larger thrust of your question, i think the intelligence community is doing a much better job on
counterterrorism, and we as a result, i think, are safer at least from a large scale attack. the question that peter raises whether that is because of institutional reforms or just because we were spending up to $80 billion on the mission, doubling what we had spent before 9/11. so it's debatable whether it's because of the increased money focus and lessons learned from 9/11 or whether other time the institutional improvements as the commission, some would argue, whether that will lead to increased national security down the road. i think the institutional reforms are an open question and still being debated. but the intelligence community certainly has improved its performance in the last ten years. >> any other questions? if there are no other questions, um, thank you, mike, very much. >> thank you. >> book is for sale. great book, "blinking red," for everybody watching at home. >> that's right.
>> and you'll be prepared to sign them, i think? >> absolutely. thank you so much. very much for having me. thank you. >> thank you, mike. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> every weekend booktv offers 48 hours of programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. watch it here on c-span2. >> on tuesday former defense secretary robert gates will publish his memoir titled "duty: memoirs of a secretary at war." in the book mr. gates, who served as secretary of defense under both presidents george w. bush and president obama, discusses his management of the wars in afghanistan and iraq and his relationship with the white house and congress. be in excerpts from the book
>> you can watch robert gates discs his book live from the national constitution center in philadelphia this coming friday, january 17th, at 6:30 p.m. eastern on c-span2. or catch the re-air on booktv on sunday, january 19th, at 10 p.m. eastern. >> you're watching booktv. next, david keith and clive hamilton debate the idea of scientifically manipulating the environment to address the threat of global warming. this is about an hour. >> thanks, scott, for that introduction and for the invitation to come and debate
climate engineering with david here today. um, i want to talk a little bit about the science and some of the implications but more about the social and political meaning of what it would mean to have a geoengineered planet. and i want to draw on a bit of historical experience to get some idea of what that means. now, david has become the foremost advocate of geoengineering as a response to global warming, and in his new book "a case of climate engineering," he puts forward an innovative approach to solar geoengineering; that is, the use of a fleet of planes to inject sulfuric acid into the upper atmosphere, the stratosphere to create a layer of tiny particles between the sun and the be
earth. and i should point out that today we're going to be talking about this form of solar geoengineering sulfur aerosol spray. when scott said the problem is that geoengineering can be done quickly, unilaterally and cheaply, he was thinking of sulfate aerosol spray. now, by mimicking the effects of large volcanic eruptions, such a solar shield could be adjusted as desired to reduce the amount of solar radiation reaping the earth's surface -- reaching the earth's surface and so cooling the planet. david, in his new book, proposes that we start slowly and subjectly absent nasty surprises, increase the injections until there are enough particles in the atmosphere to slow by half the rate of human-induced warming. david argues it will sharply reduce the risk of disturbance
to global rainfall patterns. and i think when i was reading the book the fact that david keith, who in my estimation is the world's most influential geoengineering scientist, that david should be calling for a research program leading to deployment. i think it takes the debate to a new level. now, while david in his book and elsewhere in his discussions of sulfate aerosol spraying expresses confidence in his ability to regulate the earth's climate, other eminent atmospheric scientists have more doubt. alan robach lists 20 reasons why geoengineering might be a bad idea, and one of those reasons is crucial, i think, to david's proposal for what he calls a slow ramp-up of sulfate injections in order to slow down
the rate of warming. and what is that crucial objection that i want to begin my talk with? well, it's this, this is the alan robach point. once deployed, the effects of solar radiation management on the earth would be difficult to isolate from the effects of natural variability and, indeed, from the effects of human-induced global warming. it would take, it's estimated or guessed, at least a decade of full deployment of sulfate aerosol spraying before enough data became available to judge confidently whether the solar field was working at planned. if alan robach is right in this objection, i think this fact would drive a dagger into the heart of of david keith's ramp-up scheme which, as i said, aims to slow warming by a
fraction of a degree centigrade. if it would take a decade to generate the data needed to assess the impact of full deployment of sulfur aerosol spraying, it would take much longer or with david's proposal to start slowly and go halfway. so with no decipherable information coming in, we would be flying blind for a very long time. and so i think the scheme that david proposes in his new book fails the third principle of of engineering systems, and that is after initially setting the control variables, the engineer must obtain feedback from the system before adjusting the settings to make it work optimally. the problem, of course, has been around in the scientific literature for a while, and given its importance, i expect that in realizing david's book he would rebut this argument since it seems to crucial to the effectiveness, to the credibility of the scheme that he proposes.
but, um, when he does mention this objection, he claims that it's doubly wrong. how? first he says that we can learn a lot through local tests, small atmosphere ec tests of aerosol spraying that have a large signal in an environment with little noise. it's true that local tests can tell us important things about atmospheric chemistry, but they can tell us next to nothing about the effects of solar geoengineering on the climate system of the earth as a whole. secondly, david writes can -- and i quote: even if it weren't tested at full scale, we will still not resolve all of our uncertainties. now, i must say i'm a bit mystified by that statement. it seems to be saying the objection is each stronger than the critics like robach claim. so i think david's response to what's been called the killer objection to solar geoengineering is to not really
engage with it at all. even if alan robach's objection is not failed to the plan of solar geoengineering, there are, of course, deeper concerns. any employment program would rely heavily on a complex array of atmospheric measurements. models would be used to aggregate and assess the streams of incoming data, data on land, sea and air temperatures, on precipitation around the world, on unusual weather patterns and on atmospheric chemistry including changes in the ozone layer and the rate at which sulfate particles fall out of the stratosphere. models would also be used to make projections about the combined effects of sulfate projections and elevated carbon dioxide concentrations. so decision makers in government would be highly dependent on a technocratic elite who might work at the global climate regulation agency.
so let's think about this world of technocrats and policymakers. first, in my book, "earth masters," i explain the apparent contradiction of conservative think tanks like the american enterprise institute, the cato institute and even the extremist heartland foundation which for years have rejected the validity of climate science are think tanks that now express support for geoengineering. they are endorsing a solution to a problem they have said does not exist. why could this paradox emerge? well, for them, conservative think tanks and other certain conservative politicians like newt gingrich, geoengineering promises to turn a drastic failure of the free enterprise system into a triumph of human ingenuity. instead of climate change being a vinld case of
environmentalists' warnings, geoengineering exposes the lack of faith in humanity. instead of shrinking from technological hubris, the call is for greater mastery of -- over nature. however, conservatives backing solar geoengineering, they seem not yet to understand that in seeking to avoid government regulation of fossil fuel use, they are endorsing government regulation of the climate. and doing so through a scientific bureaucracy far more powerful than the ipcc. such a bureaucracy would not regulate individual behavior, but it would regulate the conditions in which individuals behave. beyond the ideological contortions of conservatives, what more can be said about a geoengineered world? well, in his book david keith has taken the radical leap from arguing for a comprehensive research program to arguing for
deployment subject to the ab sense of -- absence of nasty surprises. so i think david is at home in this world of technocratic control. and although he claims otherwise, i think it's still true that david clings to the idea that if separation can be maintained between the pure domain of science and the arena of politics which always threatens to -- [inaudible] he invites us to imagine what he calls a world without politics, a world, i must confess, i find very difficult to imagine. but one in which the scientists can be trusted to exercise power justly and objectively over the world's climate. but what can history teach us about the relationship between scientific expertise and political power when momentous decisions are being made? well, when future political leaders must make decisions on climate control, which scientists will they turn to?
history tells us that they will choose the ones they most trust. trust has a contingent relationship with expertise. it was not only edward teller's reputation as the father of the the h bomb that turned him into one of the foremost architects of the cold war, but also his industry department anti-- strident anticommunism. with unmatched access to the republican white house, he was even invited into the pentagon to help choose the russian cities and military facilities that would be obliterated in a first strike. in a world of climate control, not just the weather, but the nature of politics would change. we've seen this before with world-shifting technologies. steven shapen, the historian of science, recently wrote about winston churchill's wartime ruminations over britain's commitment to building the atom bomb. britain had considerable scientific advance on the united
states in the early years of the second world war. shapen wrote: the distinction between the domains of science and politics is put under pressure when there is a prospect that the nature of politics, diplomacy and the use of military force will be transformed by existence of new science and new technologies. churchill, writes shapen, quote: suspected that scientists had a pernicious wish to parlay technical expertise into political influence. he took the view, this is churchill, took the view that scientists should have no more influence on government policy than dentists. but politicians often have no choice. and churchill surrounded himself with a small group of men who had won his trust. his job then was to adjudicate between -- [inaudible] however, as the historian graham
farmelow has shown in his recent book, churchill came to rely on one scientist in particular, frederick lendman. lendman was not a top-ranked scientist, but he was of or churchill's social class and political convictions and, most usefully, he was skilled in the art of flattery. when criticized for his unhealthy closeness to lend eman,ture hill responded: love me, love my dog. even so, churchill always retained a healthy skepticism of the -- [inaudible] in a 1937 newspaper article published, oddly enough in the news of the world, the article titled "life in a world controlled by the scientists," churchill wrote: there are secrets too mysterious for man in his present state to know, secrets which once penetrated
may be fatal to human happiness and glory. but the busy hands of the scientists are already fumbling with the keys of all the chambers hitherto forbidden to man kind. i think the words have an eerie contemporary relevance. or perhaps not all would today concur with churchill's conviction that there are rooms best left locked. i think most of us would agree with him that our moral development, self-control and political institutions lag well behind our formidable scientific insights and technological prowess. it would be much better, churchill declared, to call a halt in material progress and discovery rather than to be mastered by our own apparatus, our own technology and the forces which it directs. a geoengineered world would be one in which the conditions of our daily life are set by experts far away where human
nobility, as churchill might have put it, is no longer possible not only because we would be inhabiting an artificial world, but because we made it necessary to inhabit an artificial world. given that humans are proposing to engineer the climate because of a cascade of institutional failures and self-interested behaviors, any suggestion that the deployment of a solar shield would be done in way that full filled the strongst principles of justice and compassion would lack credibility, to say the least. so we find ourselves in a situation where geoengineering is being proposed because of our penchant for deceiving ourselves and inflating our virtues. if a just global warming solution cannot be found, who can believe in a just geoengineering regime? david confirms that a solar
field would offset the impacts of global warming more effectively in some parts of the world than in others. in some areas it may exacerbate droughts. in others, floods. the temptation of those who control the heat shield to manipulate it in a way that suits their own interests first would be ever present and almost irresistible. no wonder nations of the south are leading early moods mainly through the convention on biological diversity to impose restrictions on geoengineering research. so whatever the motives and professionalism of geoengineering researches, and i certainly don't question david's, the idea is already attracting a range of actors with a diversity of purposes and standpoints, not all of them admirable. so i think it's naive of researchers to imagine that they
can isolate themselves in a cocoon of scientific neutrality, nor can they absolve themselves of responsibility for how their schemes might be used or misused in the future. we are, after all, talking about technologies designed to regulate the conditions of life. once the political, corporate and military players become involved, the geoengineering experts will lose control of how it's used. actually, i think it's a little more complicated than that. those experts when it comes to the crunch, will have a choice: to go with the authority's plan or to get out. the exemplars here, i think, are robert oppenheimer and, again, edward keller. both of whom played vital roles in the manhattan project to build the first atomic weapons. oppenheimer, often called the
father of the atom bomb, spent most of the -- much of the post-hiroshima years trying to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. so while oppenheimer worked to restrain the monster that he had helped to create -- and thereby earned the ire of the authorities -- edward keller worked asidously to place himself at the very center of the nuclear arms race and attained the kind of power undreamed of by other scientists. and he could do so because he was the most aggressive advocate of nuclear weapons including the use of nuclear explosions for civil engineering projects, creating new harbors with nuclear bombs, for example. when controlling the world's climate becomes central to the exercise of global strategic and military power as nuclear weapons did in the postwar era,
which path will today's geoengineering researchers take, oppenheimer's or teller's? if decade's advocacy of an aerosol injection persuades more than one country to embark on it or if it goes badly wrong but is pursued nevertheless, where will he stand? let's go a bit deeper on the politics of geoengineering. because i think it goes to the very heart of anxieties that many people have about embarking on solar geoengineering. failures of political structures and moral weaknesses have prevented us from reducing carbon emissions consistent with the scientific warnings. yet these very same failures provide the political and social landscape from which those planes, packed with sulfuric
acid, will be launched. so the first question must be whether geoengineering leaps over these moral and political obstacles or whether they will, in fact, corrupt or undermine attempts at installing this global solar shield. so what were the obstacles to plan a that have led us to be talking about plan b? i think there are perhaps five of them. the first obstacle to emission reductions has been the power of the fossil fuel lobby. geoengineering leaps over in this hurdle or at least pushes it off into the future. but it may also corrupt plan b because fossil fuel companies are likely to back geoengineeringing as a substitute for carbon awe baitment rather than a means to -- abatement rather than a means to buy some time until we have enough political and economic incentives to reduce energy efficiency and so on.
exxon, conocophillips and shell are oil companies already dipping their toes into research into geoengineering. the second barrier has been a weakness of political leaders and institutions. with governments trading off science against vested interests and electability. there's no reason to believe that geoengineering will escape that quagmire. instead, it will become mired in it, opening up new divides, ones in which the clear authority of climate science -- including geoengineering science -- will be lost begun. the third difficulty has been the elusiveness of global agreement. for some the capacity of geoengineering obviates the need for international consent is its defining virtue. yet it may well take us from a situation of anguished indecision to one of outright
conflict. the fourth is the sway of climate science denial. as i suggested, geoengineering has the mysterious power to bypass the objections of even the most fervent deniers, but at what cost? they will not accept the strategy of using geoengineering to buy time, which is effectively what david advocates. buying time is merely buying time to do what they have fiercely are resisted. they want a substitute for penalties on fossil fuels, one that insulates the prevailing system from change. more viscerally, they want to prove those loathsome greenies wrong. david's slow ramp-up scheme does not disarm denial, but capitulates to it. and he may soon find that he has to give up his insistence that
geoengineering is only acceptable only if it's accompanied by emission cuts. he's gone halfway in his book by arguing that his gain should cause us to ease the pressure to cut emissions. finally, and i'll finish on this point, what of public resistance resistance -- [inaudible] carbon capture and the like which has surely been a major obstacle to political progress in responding to the science in my country as well as here. solar geoengineering leapfrogs this obstruction. economists, including scott here, have told us that it will be incredibly cheap. by buying us time, david expects that technological progress will avert the need for a price penalty on fossil fuels in order to achieve decarbonization. but what a gamble this is. in the united states without the
carbon penalty, we're seeing substantial investment in low emission technologies, to be sure. quite rapid investment. but we're also seeing a massive and frightening expansion of new oil and gas fields. and around the world huge new coal mines are being opened up. we may find that it is fossil fuels rather than cheap renewables that fly in the window of opportunity opened up by geoengineering. now the verdict seems straightforward. solar geoengineering cannot be leapfrog the obstacles to decarbonization. one way or another, most of the forces that have blocked plan a are likely to bedevil plan b. only in the ideal world of a world without politics does solar geoengineering have a chance of working as david describes it in his book.
a techno fix then is an attempt to apply a technological solution. sometimes they work. often those same political and social problems just reappear in another form. and that is what will happen, in my estimation, if david's solar geoengineering advocacy succeeds. thanks very much. [applause] >> thank you, chai, very much. we'll turn right over to david keith. >> thanks a lot. um, i'll start by thanking scott did a great job introducing the basic idea. and i'd just say one crucial difference is scott said instead of cutting emissions, i don't think that's actually what he -- >> [inaudible]
>> and i and i think almost everybody else involved with this has been crystal clear that that wouldn't work. that it may or may not make sense to do this, but if it does make sense to do it, it is as well as cutting emissions. nothing you do to reduce the amount of sunlight and so do this solar geoengineering in the near term does anything to change the long-term risks of putting carbon in the atmosphere. so there is no way that these technologies get you out of the long-run need to stop putting carbon in the atmosphere. um, i'm going to, first, respond to a few things clive said before circling back to say some things about at least on the hard, underlying social questions and questions on how to think about the relationship of people and nature that are raised here. clive makes a bunch of assertions that are, first of all, very serious and sensible problems, but he in a way that i don't understand implies that i and other people like me hold
views that we don't hold, never held and consistently say that we don't hold. and i don't understand why he's doing that. i wallet to bring some of those -- i want to bring some of those out. so let's start with a simple technical one. he said that alan robach was the first person to raise this objection about the so-called signal to noise detect about of the signal. so not only is that not true -- actually, it was myself and doug and ken who published a paper actually calculating how long that is -- but, in fact, the time is not ten years, it's twenty. it's each harder than clive said. so if you did that kind of slow ramp-up, the it would take more like 20 years to detect the signal, not 10. there's lots of other signals you could detect schooner, but i think -- sooner, but this may not be the kind of fatal listic objection that you heard or maybe something about clive's story that he was leaving out when you find that the first people to raise this was us.
clive said that it's naive for scientists to imagine they can isolate themselves in a cocoon of scientific neutrality. yeah, that's why i quit my job in physics 25 years ago, because of the connections to nuclear weapons and began to work on socially-relevant things. that's why i walked out of the lab and spent a lot of time working with lawyers, with activists, learning how to teach in public policy institutions, doing explicit research on the ways in which science is not isolated from the world and the ways in which political and social forces shape what happens in science. i've spent a lot of my career working on that. so it's kind offed, i mean, i -- odd, i mean, i have lots of things i do wrong and make mistakes, and the fundamental thing here is this shouldn't be personal. but clive has taken the time to say all these things that are kind of the opposite of what i actually think. and i think you have to ask yourself why. the answer is simple, it's easier to attack dogs when
they're strong. there are very good reasons that we shouldn't geoengineer, but painting a straw dog, making people say things that they don't say that you can easily see they don't say in my book and other writings i've written, i think, is a kind of weak way to do it. and i think because it's actually very hard toen beige the really serious -- to engage the really serious choices that these technologies bring up. i think there are, in fact, some very substantive reasons nod to do it, and -- not to do it, and they are some of the ones clive has brought up. no doubt, decisions would not and should not be made by scientists. one thing i've spent a lot of my career doing is emphasizing that while scientists may know more facts than other people, their values ought to count absolutely no more than nickels' -- no more than anybody else's decisions. a lot of the work at carnegie mellon is trying to find ways to figure out lay values and incorporate them into decisions. because technocrats when they
begin to design something always subconsciously build in their set of values into what the right answer is and not the way, i think anyway, public policy ought to work. a few others just to illustrate this, i'm sorry to do this personal stuff, but i think it's relevant. a few other clues that might make you think there's something a little odd about the way clive just presented that, the first person that i am aware of to write about the military history of the kind of cold war climate manipulation, the context that we're hearing, was me. so that's not to say i got it all right, but that was precisely because i was deeply concerned about these military connections, and i spent a lot of time writing about that and gave it to a historian who's written a whole book about it. the first person i believed he used the term moral hazard in this context was me in that same article in 2000. because of concerns very realistic and i think well-founded and correct concerns, that these
technologies may well lead to less emphasis on cutting emissions and will certainly lead to their abuse by parties like the -- [inaudible] institute. by the way, i don't find any mystery at all about the stats. they are paidfrontmen for the industry, and they will, of course, deny the climate science when it's convenient to do that. there's nothing surprising about it, that's what they're paid to do. but let's not confuse, let that kind of cop fuse our conversation -- confuse our conversation about what the real issues are here. finally, and i just have to keep doing this and then i'll stop, clive says that i believe that -- [inaudible] will avert the need to put a price on carbon. i'm mystified since i spent so long arguing the opposite, arguing that you absolutely have to have a price on carbon to produce -- you have to price using the atmosphere in order to effectively mobilize efforts to cut emissions and that no amount of technological innovation is
going to solve our problems without social consensus that we need to solve them, and in this context that means rules that put a price on using the atmosphere as a waste dump. so i'm kind of puzzled by that, and i hope that in responses clive will think a little bit less about kind of painting me as a guy who just doesn't get it all and think about what's wrong with these ideas, and i think there are some good things wrong with, and what we as a species, as people actually ought to do which are the really hard questions that we should be engaged in, not exactly who said what to whom. so let me resay that. i'd say that the hard problems here are fundamentally social. the basic science is hard and interesting and fun to play with, but the really hard questions are all social. there's a pretty good scientific consensus that doing small amounts of -- [inaudible] would have near-term benefits, not long-term benefits, that are
stable and are worldwide -- substantial and are worldwide for most people. that doesn't mean you should necessarily do it. there are good reasons not to do it. but that's a fair summary of the science as i understand it. we can talk about the science more if we like. the really hard questions are who decides to use this power? how will we manage the fact that some people will most certainly use this as an excuse to avoid emission cuts? how specifically do we construct policies that enable us to get some of the benefits that this technology appears to offer, benefits, real benefits to people now living in this generation in terms of reduced climate change, benefits both to people and to unmanaged ecosystems? benefits that we actually don't have another way to provide given the time scales of carbon and the environment. under what conditions is it ethical to do this? and how does it change our relationship with the natural world? i want to talk about that for a minute. and then i will close.
for environmental protection have, in my view, become increasingly technocratic. some of it has nothing to do with -- [inaudible] but they're tied together in my mind anyway, and hope my you'll find them -- hopefully, you'll find them useful. when somebody, for example, a researcher who loves rain forests, maybe they've worked on some insect in the rain forest and they've spent their career there and they just love it, when they go to testify to positions of power, to congress, what have you, they often talk about the fact that there may be lots of genetic material that could be abstracted to produce new wonder drugs. overall, this is often called not of this rubric ecosystem services, and can that's the language in which most of the people talk. and a lot of the advocate is si community talks about that thinking about the acute danger that climate poses to people. it does pose danger, but not only to people, and not all
problems are there just because they're dangerous to peoplement i think clive's kind of catastrophe framing of this takes a lot out of it. it's obvious what we should do. well, that's nice. it ducks all the hard actual moral questions, the questions about intergeneration aleck bity and whether nature counts on its own and so on. i'd say that while arguments about the utility of nature have merit, we're cutting ourselves short by not talking about the nonutilitarian ways we want to preserve the natural world. these are things i care about and i suspect many people care about. there's polling data to show that people care about this, even though they don't say it exlis licitly in -- explicitly in policy debates. i think this is important for geoengineering because while there are costs and benefits as
we get climate benefit to people and there are ways we could i said late humans -- insulate humans further from environment, if you actually want to weaken, to slow the rate of climate change, and the it's a combination of climate change and man's appropriation of land from nature that is causing the extinction spasm that we're creating and causing the sort of drastic changes not afterral environmental -- those two things, slowing down the rate of climate change can significantly reduce that stress. so how to think about geoengineering in this context. the most obvious answer is that it's crazy. the most obvious answer is that you can't make things more natural by some engineered, top-down system which controls the whole world. and i think that's a good answer. and it's an answer that might lead you and certainly some people to say we should never do it. but i don't think it's a complete answer. there are plenty of cases where we attempt to do what are effectively engineered solutions to try and help make the natural
system more like it was before we messed with it. and i think there are interesting analogies between what i and others are posing to research and to potentially do in the way of solar engineering and the kind of proposals that are used to reintroduce mammoths or passenger pigeons, both which are possible to bring it back to a world more like the one before we messed with it. to give you with a kind of personal anecdote, as a boy i worked with my parents to help build these boxes to reinto deuce per grin falcons. these were on tops of big buildings in cities. the pigeons were less contaminated than the ones in the city, kind of interesting. and this helped to introduce falcon into this part of the world. we introduced them after they'd been destroyed by ddt, and the ably's quite strong, because that reintroduction would have been meaningless if we had not
the environment, around 1971. all of those reports talk about these as part of the context talking with the climate problem. as it became more political, talk about it was suppressed i think because of the fear about the kind of topics the clive is raising, the fear about what's called the moral hazard. and then this sort of burst forth a game in 2006 when paul christin wrote an article that said basically nothing new but his stature some who kind of unimpeachable credentials to understand the ozone layer, one of the risks, really kind of pulled the cork out of the bottle, to use an overused metaphor, and now we have this exponential amount of research going on. so i recommend the program. i think it be internationalized
because the biggest risks ici risks to do with different national interest pulling against each other and distorting, shaping the way the could be very harmful to people. i think it's crucial it be publicly funded. what we want to do is avoid as much as possible institutional locking. you cannot avoid it completely. try and create a diversity. i would like to see funding spend most of his money funding people to say how this would not work and think technically all the reasons it would work. both reasons that are merely technical and big ones that do with interaction with the technical system and hume system. so, for example, in that vein, a job -- a jab at clive but that's my job. i have been thinking about how delays in decision-making in human system can create what we call oscillation, catastrophic behavior where human decisions
about implementing with time delays can create catastrophic behavior. it's an example of the way interaction of human decision-making and this technology could be very harmful. i think it's crucial to be diverse, have minimum corporate interest and it focus into diversely on funding groups to show this will work and then some groups to figure out explicitly creatively how it would work. it's hard to do all that. i'm not naïve about the fact it will magically happen and it will not be corruption. i think it will be but i think the challenge to figure out how to make it happen in a useful way. why advocate this? the fundamental reason to this real problem that these technologies, the pounds of evidence we have so far could material reduce the risk for natural ecosystems over the next half-century. the habit of find among some colleagues, some geophysicist to think about the long run of
history and say correctly that this technology does nothing to manage the very long range impact of co2 in the climate system which goes on for a millennia. that's true. there's that kind of moral mistake because that implies the next generation, we have some direct connection with don't count and finding ways to reduce the impact to them is somehow a marginal thing. i think it's an important thing. we have a direct moral responsibility. it's tempting to say of course that this is the wrong answer and the simple answer is, the real are not cutting emissions is not simply industrial capitalism run amok. it's we have built up a system that in material terms supports the elimination and in ways quite irrespective whether capital system or the old soviet system are what have you that kind of in better ways economic also to lay down.
that is a statement that we can change and we can change, but you can't just turn it off tomorrow, not without actually putting a huge number of lives at risk. even a very concerted effort to try to cut emissions that would invite you have a carbon price of well over 100 girls of time and evolve hard long -- 100 a ton. daily emissions are not what is the final problem. it's a sum of past emissions. even want to bring emissions to zero the climate risk is because of the aging related co2 in the air. cutting emissions and solar radiation are complementary, and that cutting emissions manage the long run the risk of accumulation of co2 in the air and sort of solar engineering manages to some extent imperfectly, some of the short
run risk from the co to speculation in your. they do different things and they can service complements of one another. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, david. i'm going to now allow clive i think once to respond somewhat to david. david met while want to respond to clive but after so many lives of this i'm going to try to close that initial discussion. i have some questions of my own which i think some of you are likely to share or i think will help eliminate -- eliminate -- and after asking the questions we will go to the audience. clive. >> thanks very much sky. i just want to clarify that because listening to david's respond to my critique of his argument in the book, i'm left puzzled because genuine puzzle
formula i would like david to answer. because they become as you know, you say in your book, you advocate research. you are in favor of substantial research program into geoengineering at the music, talk about solar geoengineering. is a research supports geoengineering as promised i wouldn't choose gradual deployment. typically in the various reports and thinking about the justification for research into geoengineering, the possibility of deployment, there were three arguments given. the first of is the emergency response. we get into some kind of imminent climatic emergency, some massive release of arctic methane or something like that, and we need something on the shelf, plan b to respond to stop that from happening so we can then, if we don't go beyond a point of no return. that was paul kurtzman's argument in favor of research in
solid geoengineering. his main concern was what will happen when china and india start cleaning up their smog problem putting catalytic converters on their cars and whatever. all of those people who are currently dying from smog no longer die because of that smog is depressing the warming we could have a sharp spike in warming and, therefore, we need land be. that's the emergency response. the second kind of response or justification is we want to substitute for abatement of this is why the conservatives i mentioned and some economists, the kind of people he associates with, cheap option. why do have to bother with these difficult expensive process of restructuring our economies, just geoengineering here. the third argument which i think
is respectable -- not the right word. the most defensible one, is the buying of time argument. we need to engage in geoengineering because the our political obstacles are too great at the moment and so we can geoengineering for three or four or five decades or whatever it might take. these obstacles will go away and a sufficiently so that we can implement the programs that we should be doing now by passing carbon taxes of $100 per ton. when you say we should go into a program of gradual deployment beginning that if it could be possible about 2025, what is your justification? the buying time argument in which obstacles are going to be overcome whilst we have the source you can place? what would they make it easier for us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions? >> that's not my argument. i'm not sure -- i think you
might be able to, i think this is kind of wishful thinking, construct specific political ways to try -- to tie together with a mission called. i'm frankly not that excited. i think that is not that likely. i think the fundamental reasons why it's been hard to get emissions cuts don't change automatically. so is buying time is met, sort of buying political time, i find that kind of nonsense. i think we need to focus, and i am focused a lot of my effort on how we can change the politics now to get a mission cuts. i'm excited by things like divestment movement like 350.org that are getting more political traction. short answer is i don't see that argument. i don't make it. spent why do what? >> because for me, clive, the actual risks are not -- this isn't an intellectual game. there are real risks going on. let me finish.
so there's good evidence that people are actually losing crops from heat stress during the growing season and that's affecting some of the portions of the world now. couple years ago, i ski for a few weeks. you can see the glaciers are back almost all of them, photographic images of 1960s, when the glaciers are on the map, 1960s data. you can see as you skied day after day that those glaciers are back for a, a columbus. these things are happening that i think there's a real benefit to reducing them. -- two, four, eight kilometers. i think the framing is kind of overdone. it's a bit of a copout. emergency just to all sorts of things, suspension due process and maniacal focus on one problem and nobody is finding it
anyway. i'm arguing for it on what i think of the most recent grounds that it actually would provide some benefits in terms of lessons risks from co2 we've already put in the air. >> all right. that just doesn't work because as you know there's a i am, you're a scientist and a nod, geoengineering does not solve climate change. suppresses one of its symptoms and that is the warming of the globe. it doesn't get rid of it. it's the president. s. and you take away the source yield of all that suppressed warming comes rushing back. what you do is you put all this suffering, put off the harms. unless you're talking about solar geoengineering adeptly, for centuries to come from is that what you're talking up? >> no. first of all you will know if you read the literature on climate impact, ma a lot of climate impact custody with the rate of change. so there so answer to that one answer is a simple answer, let's assume that there is a certain
pathway for co2 emission, however we are able to manage its you get emissions, so that the climate change that's going to come from suited emissions comes over let's say 100 years. let's say he is solar geoengineering to spread that same amount over 200 years. 200 is out you'r your exactly te place you would have otherwise been 100 years out. you haven't reduce the long run 100. which of the time is divided by two the rate of change. go read the science reports about climate impacts and you'll find a lot has to do great, although quite a lot. so that's one simple answer. the other answer, let's leave it at that. spent but you have to and it after 200 years. yes, you can spread the impact over a longer period but sooner or later you have to stop it. what is going to change in the meantime? >> so i'm happy speed what are you buying time for? >> i want you to answer my question. what is so bad about helping
actual humans now, to we have the more clerk human duty, but helping the ecosystem? why does that argument not take traction with you? >> you know the answer because you've read my book, and that is the are two kinds. one is because it's not a simple matter of just reducing the rate of warming by engaging. it is all kind of effects on the climate system as well. so it's risky. the second kind of response is that there's every likelihood, in the way of the core of the argument i put about the politics of engaging in this kind of grand system engineering is that actually the world will change if you engage in solar geoengineering. not the way we hope and that is to allow the political and economic obstacles to use but what it may well do is actually
make the emission come to greenhouse gases increased about what they would've done. because it will make it easier for people who are resisting carbon taxes to say, look, what's the problem? wwe've got this plan be in place so we can just pollute until the call runs out in three or 400 years time. and so that's the most profound danger is this game. and when you argue, it's a soothing case in your book that we can reduce the harms, particularly for poor people by engaging in solar geoengineering and this is the compassionate thing to do. well, the truth is is people who want to do nothing about climate change are the ones who will be most attracted to your book. >> a couple things. first of all if it's true that the risks, tactical risk are bigger, my reading maybe incorrectly of the current science is that the risks look a
lot smaller than the short-term benefits. as to whether my book is soothing, i don't intend to be sitting. it's a funny i get out of college say i over exaggerate the risk. people have spelled out the ultimate riskier in terms of this is global extinction. you can actually do a worse thing to the world with this than you can with nuclear weapons. very hard to kill everybody with nuclear weapons. were talking about one or 2% cut of solar installation to get eight or 10% cut for 100 years, you will freeze the plan over to the quick. that would kill everything on land. so this brings for the first time the power of humans to do the. i've talked about that explicitly. we think about technology, think about the very worst cases if they are misused. if that's soothing, it's a very strange meaning of the word soothing. i don't find it soothing at all.
i think the middle question is really the hard-won. if i was the only effect for sure was simply to cause people to admit -- emit more carbon, i would not advocate. i think there's a clear risk that is to but think politics are hard to get. and i think there are plenty of scenarios, imagine -- this is part of the recognition and to find a coupling of these technologies and cutting emission but remember, the amount that many people, clive in the and many other in this ts room, the met with the emission should be cut, said this about, the amount we're cutting is this enough. now today. there is an argument which i give in the book something called risk compensation means you might cut them on the less than you otherwise would. it's whether we do better than almost nothing, which is what we are doing now. my guess is that the forces of
environmental activism, the site i think i'm on, will, in fact, be able to couple these things so it will not be possible just implement these technologies with no emission cuts. >> at this point, i'm sure you two could continue. i just want to frame -- stay on the same track but it want to try to reframe things. the reason we are here talking about this topic is really only because we haven't addressed this problem probably. not because we don't take it seriously. so i'm a little concerned about the view that welcome we should really pay much attention to geoengineering because we should deal with a properly but we haven't dealt with a properly. taking seriously what the science tells us about the impacts, that should be a great worry. they are too kind of extreme positions i've seen of extreme positions are held because they
are extreme. they clarify things for was. one is that, there's environmental group that has been probably the strongest opponent to this idea, therefore, we are there against the idea of technology but whenever we their webpage they spend virtually no time talking about climate change as a problem. and what to do about climate change. one concern i have is if you prohibit, prescribe gamma band, transform, you know, how could that be the sensible thing to do given the risks we face on the climate side? the question is mainl mainly did towards clients on the rush of which are suggesting we do. if you're suggesting we should deal with the problem probably, i think we should all agree. i think you're right by the way if geoengineering works and we like it, that's not going to embolden us to do more to reduce emissions to that is a problem.
but are there no circumstance in which it should be used? then there's another group, i think base in uk, principally concerned with something called catastrophic limit change, particularly the race of methane in the arctic. they are at the other extreme where they think we should use not because they think that is the stabilizing the arctic they think is the priority and we shouldn't risk going over any kind of clip because that situation would be a runaway and irreversible. david, a little surprised you are suggesting we should do any kind of gradual world to manage climate change because there are these risks associated with the use of geoengineering itself. it's appears to me to be more plausible that she would use it when the alternative was so unacceptable, that however much you wished you didn't have to use geoengineering, it was the better of the two worlds that we
could face. what are your responses, both of you, to those the kind of extreme positions? >> well, i write in my book really to issue a warning about the political dangers of pursuing geoengineering. and i think that we can learn some very useful and good lessons of history when we stop to think about the world transform technologies and how they get used. and what i essentially do in my book, is to map out the earlier architecture of the political and ideological groups that are being drawn to geoengineering. oil companies are lease going to dip their toes in the water. there are some billionaires who will put their money into geoengineering for a range of purposes, some noble, some very
dubious. there are ideological bedfellows that have been drawn to it. some quite peculiar ones. and so i'm saying, look, this is not a scientific question principally, although the signs is pursuing, but we have to issue these warns about what geoengineering means for principal task of trying to head off catastrophes from climate change. i'm not opposed to researching geoengineering but i don't think we should be -- in terms of are you for or against. i think they should be framed this way. under what governance circumstances should research into geoengineering pursue? at the moment we got a free for all. we've got eccentrics in russia doing all sorts of weird things. we've got road that you engineer fertilizing the oceans off the west the candidate. we've got a project falling over because someone had a conflict of interest. we've got started taking up into
geoengineering schemes. we've got conservatives who resist all measures to resist emissions. in those circumstances the way in which research is being pursued a i think is disasters. what we need is an early, comprehensive government program, one which in particular will have a powerful say in what kind of research is done, who owns the results, who funds it and have an influence should it, god forbid, everybody thought essential to deploy some kind of geoengineering. >> i think is a very important point. i want to return in a few minutes to governance because i think it's a central point. so i hear you saying that you're not against doing research. in that sense you and not that far apart. but let me just ask about deployment the are there no circumstances -- presumably the reason you do research is you
want to find out if this were, what hazards there are big it seems to me even the dissension between research and deployment is a necessary -- necessarily very clear. on there any circumstances in which the -- >> well, i mean, i see the risks of solar geoengineering so great that i find it hard but not impossible to imagine circumstances in which i would come with the heaviest of hard, imaginable say well, humanity must engage in this appalling act. so i don't have sort of in principle absolute opposition but if we ever got, if we do get to the point and today the truth i think solar geoengineering will be done. i think it very likely it will happen but it will be done for all the wrong reasons by the wrong people. i think it will happen within the next 30 years. but for me to support that, it's a technology capitulation. and i'm nowhere near the point of pitcher leading on the desire
to see that the. where david in his new book is advocating towards deployment. >> okay. so david, so my question -- i'm hearing there's more agreement than they been apparent early. so not opposed to research and it may even be -- spent i think we actually agree on a bunch of the political risks. was repression and shoving -- >> but you -- doesn't surprise you, we were going to use us because of our love for nature and concern for poor people and so one. >> be careful. i am trying to be careful about distinguishing what i think, which i guess is an unusual point of view. i'm a privileged person from a particular social class that has much more chance to be an edge world probably done all in one of a thousand people.
and i absolutely don't think that's what it will -- i'm arguing about what i think and what i would hope others thing. >> but we all have our personal views of course. [talking over each other] >> whatever your motives omnicom i don't doubt that all your love for nature and your parents desire to protect peregrine falcon, although i don't think there's any way kabul as an enduring solution to taking control of your climate. i think it's bit disingenuous to say my book shouldn't count to your views do get. you've written a book which is probably going to be very influential out there. so we read on the hill when rulemakers, some republicans already are, talking, thinking about hey, this solar
geoengineering might be the answer. spin let me try to answer your question about -- clive also raised some good ones. you know, if he did this thing us talking about, just using this to slow down, to be clear what we haven't yet done is distinguished several different classes. both cutting ou our initial but once we cut emissions than we can use these carver engineering to draw down. that's a slower process. until conditions are zero that is effectively should be judged by cutting emissions -- not quite right. so the technology should be, but in any case, one benefit conceivably of going forward is it allows you to pull the concentrations down. if you just think about slowing down the rate of change and you ask about what are the things we think are going to trigger the kind of instabilities that
people are worried about, the answer is a slower rate of change envelope we know about it, often the whole point of the instabilities is you don't know them very well. so it's very hard is exactly where these tipping points why. the tipping point is an easy buzzword but doesn't capture the way much of the geophysical world works. we don't know exactly this lie because i think their evidence at their judgment among the people i know in the kind of climate physics will but if you changed more slowly, the risks are less of these cut of emergency outcomes. although nobody can see exactly how much less. so there's some benefit to going more slowly but there's a lot of shaking o of the heads of the audience, so who knows. so that's one answer is i think there is some reason to believe that solar geoengineering could reduce the risk of us tipping over to these hard points because we don't know where they are. [inaudible] >> that's not true if you wrap up and down. the point is if you ramp up and down, you get to the same total
amount of change. so that is county friday it on with it. under that circumstance, over all rates, lower than what would've been and that has some benefits in the way i and many other people understand climate risks. so that's one answer. the answer about whether you use it in an emergency can get done with the emergency this. in general, i think the emergencies are probably not the time you want to try untested technologies. and so i was if you think he wants use it in an emergency that might be a reason to try before the emergency so yet more sensible works and can learn from it. >> we do have a lot of experts in the audience so i'm going to ask one more question and then going to ask for the great audience to offer the questions. we have the microphone up there.
if you want to ask the question can use the microphone so that people can hear it through c-span. my last question then would be about this question of governance, which is a question of who decides, and wrapped up within exhibiting we are concerned about, the politics, the ethics, science, all of it, whether research is done in advance and so on. i've been involved in this myself and then rather stunned at the variety of opinions that exist on this question of governance. i think everyone agrees that it's important, but they don't agree how we should think about it or how we should resolve the problem. in particular thinking again extreme positions, some things that there should be no restraints that actually the thing you don't want to have some united nations agreement
where unanimity is required and a responsible countries have a kind of veto. that actually what you want is you want to restraint off of a country like the united states and less the united states -- the important thing about this technology is that lots of countries could do it. lots of countries could do it, not that only one country can do. lots can do it. that now create a situation where, even the countries that are able to do it may wish to have some arrangement that involves some kind of mutual restraint. because each wants the other not to use it, but each wants the freedom to be able to use it themselves. the other view is that you need to have, and i shall i'm in favor of myself, of a global agreement on this. because all countries would be affected by whatever is done.
that's not to say every country should have veto. that's completely different but what a global agreement does is it acknowledges every country will be affected. and it basically creates a space in which countries can since negotiate and bargain and work collectively to figure what is the best thing to do. there are other people who think that there should be the equivalent. some sort of curious about the exact -- what do you see as being the best kind of governance arrangement? is really quite unprecedented technology. >> i think clive talks about the announcers to nuclear weapons world, and i think they are sensible and thoughtful and knowledge. i think his comments about the way people think, the ones that are exactly -- sound like. i've been struck about reducing the counts about what people thought in the very first years
of the bombs grecian. it's interesting some of those people thought far ahead about the fundamental -- weapons are not really compatible with nation states as we understand nation states. the 19th century had a system where we had the states that these arbitrary powers to do their own thing. when they didn't agree, build a negative as settled by war, and those wars would cost a few% ago the population i'm not tribalized of that. it was awful. it is something you could totally. with nuclear weapons you can't do that. what that also that means when nation states can become ever going to live on this planet, we cannot have nationstates like we did before. we require some kind of local governance which you could argue we're slowly, painfully evolving towards. over the time since the invention of weapons. i actually think that in the long run this technology -- in
the end there's only one thermostat for the planet. if we are going to manage this technology stably including deciding not to use or when to use or when the user, in a way that doesn't have kind of instabilities that would lead to war between states in the long run, i think it requires some kind of global governance force they can comply states who want to use it, or not use it. it requires kind of reshaping of the global governance system that has to affect many other technologies. there's a series of far-reaching that make the old system of governance untenable. that sort of far-reaching than 100 your answer. my near-term answer is that we need to pretty quickly start to have multilateral agreements, first kind of agreements in principle that are not treaties,
just member into, about how experience a regulated and moving onto something that is a treaty. >> i think this question of governance is really going to be in the next two years a really huge one that most nations again have to grapple with and if you are already starting to think about it now. with report surprising all of us except those who have been involved, including in its summary for policymakers of reference to geoengineering as a potential publisher response to climate change. i say we're surprised, surprise were mentioned in the working group one report. but the reports are stalking out and, therefore, norm eisen geoengineer as response to climate change. it will become quite soon i think a serious political issue. there are a number of proposals
around, and the international legal scholars are saying, making a mini industry out of talking about regulation, geoengineering and what is possible. at the moment it is a complete mess in terms of international law. one proposal is to change the terms of the international treaty that outlaws weather modification for hostile purposes which arose out of the use by the united states of weather modification techniques during the vietnam war. that proposal is to change the definition of hostile to include solar geoengineering. my preferred option would be to develop a new protocol to the framework convention on climate change. that would have a series of articles covering transparency, oversight, comment evaluation among nations or geoengineering come and which would at the same time begin to establish the
infrastructure that would be needed to reach any democratic decision over any deployment that might happen in the future. however, i think ray all politic is more likely, the more likely outcome. at one scenario that a think is not out of the question is, say, 2030, 2035 there's a severe drought in northern china, tremendous social unrest, people are going hungry. the legitimacy of the communist party government in beijing is really stressed. vacancy no way out, other than to attempt to take control of the climate changes and try to hold onto power that way. the u.s. president maybe approach to come to see the u.s. would clobber. i suspect the domestic opposition within the united states would prevent any u.s.
president going along with it and could be a nod and awake that we will make public statements at home and attract we are quite clear we are doing it. >> there we go. fiction or nonfiction? >> i pretty much agree with both of what all what clive has said spent there we go there. actually is, initially start off with a lot of disagreement. a lease on struck that there is some agreement, to. let me ask to make sure i look at all part of the audience. we have a microphone to the front and we are being covered by c-span, so people who would like to ask a question, could you identify yourself and then ask your question from the microphone? that would be great. >> so it seems to me that solar geoengineering is kind of made-for-tv. very appropriate we being covered. i first met david at a meeting
on distributive carbon capturing, and then i later saw him at a meeting for much more prestigious meeting in washington, d.c. that focused largely on solar geoengineering. and it struck me that the tenor of those two meetings with three different than that at the second one. there was a lot of staring into the abyss, philosophical discussion but this one was dominated by kind of practical issues. so i would like to ask, both of you written a book about geoengineering. i would like to start by asking did, why did you write about that instead of distributive carbon capturing? >> that's easy. i run a small company. i'm phasing out of running it but it still involved in it, that is trying to develop ways to do carbon capture fungi to make low carbon fuels to supply biofuels to make transportation bill that have a low carbon footprint.
and as a consequence run the company i done my best to manage the more sharp conflict of interest by not doing academic work on that topic and not speaking about it, except sort of his prospects i now speak about in front of like green tech audiences, and basically i only accept speaking engagements if they speaking as president of carbon -- how i think what our country is doing in the future. >> i forgot to entities must ultimately we all have topics of interest year. i met peter government and on the columbia university of one thing i worked on it distributed carbon capture. so that's interesting, david, editing it's great you're trying to avoid topics of interest but i think it's easy for the public to both identify and also in some case overlooked the comforts of interest that arise
in academia. to certain extent i'm not sure those are that easily separable. we are all making careers out of having views and doing research on very subtopic scum and we all essentially advocate for the topics and we think are interesting. >> i think there's a chatter in academia where people are partly funded by companies in a way that i think is very intertwined that i'm uncomfortable with. but the other difficulty, some of you are seeing right here, these two things because -- there's a spectrum of kinds of carbon capture from the kind we're doing and i would say that a given clive roughly agreed, made him a network but it doesn't present hard governance challenges. it's very easy to quantify whether it will work or not work. it's the kind of thing that regulators are used to regulating. but because it's hard to explain all of that in a sure thing can
you do this, where clive with these talking about solar engineering and then talk about all the oil industry money and the patents and some on, so much which are not for solar engineering. and because of the confusion i generally don't do both. >> okay, questions are having a. could you come up and ask at the microphone? >> hold on, i'm actually taking names. [inaudible] i have a technical question to ask. as for as the impact of being global, truly global and not obtainable any geographic area, you also said the effects as understood now will possibly benefit most people and most ecosystems.
supposedly, while the positive impact somebody in some regions and other regions negatively impact? this ties into the governance issue, well, there's a beauty and power dynamic it is and no matter whether or not this is a global human framework, ultimately the ones who can and will be able to do this will be the u.s. and china. the regions and in negative -- ecosystems are negatively affect will some of those that will not have a partisan know wha it coms to. that raises a rather large distributed issue on effective geoengineering, right? assange is wondering technically do we know reasonably well what the effects are and how will that impact how you feel the governance issue should be handled? >> hard question. no, i don't we know very well -- first of all there's no one geoengineering. it's a different scheme has different answers but even for
the ones that are best studied what i very much such as for example, for sulfate aerosols, there's a simplistic character. we publish one of the first papers that looked region and region and showed a model which may not be reality, the effects are much more even than people have thought. that work has been replicated. does that mean it's nicely equal? know. i don't trust those models that much and that's an idealized version of trick for which we don't know very well. i want to pick up on one thing you said if you are sort of assuming, i think many of us can't even clive and i, share a concern that the world is too much dominated, to an equal and things are too much made by the wealth in ways that are not equitable. the question of how do new technologies change that? something to exacerbate
inequalities and others the other way round. it's not obvious which way this will go. it's not true that only a few powerful nations can do it. so understand the aerospace, didn't make that up. has the kind of techno- capability to do this easily. many, many countries can get around the world are arguably i wouldn't push this too far, this is what both lowballing technology anyway nuclear weapons or. .net star a good thing. to come back the bottom line is we can all make these decisions in the end stably. you can think of unstable conditions were only one state does it. >> i think it's profoundly important question. i don't, not convinced as a level license technology. i don't see the world standing
by and letting north korea take control of the world's weather. but i just make this point. i think it's an extremely important point to make, but we have to distinguish between differences of impacts that would result from solar geoengineering and differences in perceptions of impact. and it's really the perceptions of impact, me, it's going to be partly based on what scientists in america are saying, this is a very interesting development, a lot of investment in geoengineering research in germany which is the kind of counter to what's happening in the united states. but also local perceptions of how, whether it's change but if there's someone out there playing with the weather, or people even think that there people out there playing with the weather like this crazy conspiracy, you can see that you not only have a very lot of --
prep some recourse to international law if people believe that the nation is being damaged by activities by u.s., china or some powerful nation affecting their world. >> i just want to hear a little bit about the risks associated with the type of geoengineering you talk about. u-boat falluja risked. putting aerosols -- does not run the risk of acid rain? what are the possible downsides to this? >> i'll give a lack of the. first of all i get out of it into the two categories. one is at risk due to the particular way we would reflect sunlight, what ever method we just. that is method to depend. the second thing, as a risk,
risks or lack of effort due to the fact that shielding sunlight, magically turn down the sun doesn't compensate for all of the risks of co2 in the atmosphere by any means. dividing those two up. on the risk, aerosols, especially in stratosphere that is what, bad sinners have a chance to be any wider from climate change and aerosols increasing the rate of catalytic ozone destruction from the chlorine we put the. that's what i'm working on actively. other risks have to do with the rate out -- any part we put into the stratosphere will fall into a lower atmosphere. that number is not to be small of the number ofop