Saturday, July 31, 2010

Too Warm for Russia

Russia is currently in the throes of a deadly heat wave, complete with soaring temperatures, forest fires, widespread drought, and the spontaneous combustion of peat bogs on the outskirts of Moscow. While the received wisdom is that Russia will offer a "bear hug" to a warmer world, the reality may be more complicated. Many observers argue that Russia will benefit from increased agricultural productivity driven by warmer temperatures. However, officials estimate that grain production will decline by up to 25 percent as a result of the current heat wave. In the end, Russia may not be as implacably opposed to geoengineering as many commentators assume.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Opening for Ocean Fertilization?

Yesterday Nature published a study indicating that global phytoplankton has declined by 40 percent over the last century. This is startling news from a scientific point of view, but may represent an opening for supporters of ocean fertilization insofar as this technique can now be portrayed not only as sequestration but also as conservation. Advocates can argue that, with phytoplankton populations plummeting as a result of global climate change, strategies such as OIF produce the twin benefits of removing carbon from the atmosphere and stabilizing the base of the ocean food chain. In political terms, "conservation" is much more palatable than "tinkering."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Welcome to my Geoengineering Politics blog. There are a number of good geoengineering sites out there, but the majority are focused on scientific and technical aspects of climate engineering. The purpose of this blog is to monitor, document, and discuss the politics of geoengineering, within countries and among them. Geoengineering, like mitigation and broader climate policy, will be governed as much by politics, power, and interests as by technological capabilities. Going forward, no assessment of geoengineering will be complete without comprehensive political analysis, and that is what Geoengineering Politics aims to foster. In this spirit, I intend to consider a wide variety of national and international political issues that will shape geoengineering research and deployment, and indeed the planet itself. All political perspectives are welcome, and I encourage feedback of any sort.

More to come shortly ...