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Workers cover a glacier with oversized plastic sheets on the peak of Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze Workers cover a glacier with oversized plastic sheets meant to keep it from melting during the summer months, on the peak of Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, May 10, 2011 (AP photo by Matthias Schrader).

Geoengineering Is Coming, Whether It’s Governed or Not

Monday, March 22, 2021

Humanity’s collective failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is driving the world inexorably toward geoengineering, or the intentional, large-scale human manipulation of Earth’s climate system. Facing runaway global warming, individual nations will surely develop and deploy new technologies to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide and the planet’s exposure to solar radiation.

Playing with the environment and the atmosphere, however, is playing with fire. Without adequate rules, geoengineering will create massive, unintended consequences, deepen geopolitical rivalries and hasten the world’s division into climate winners and losers. To avoid these fates, the world must create a robust multilateral regime to govern the research, development and deployment of these new technologies. ...

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