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TED on Sunday: David Keith on Climate Change and Geo-engineering

December 13, 2009

Scientists have been concerned about the uncertain impacts of anthropogenic climate change for fifty years, says environmental scientist David Keith, and yet we have done almost nothing to slow or reduce emissions of manmade greenhouse gases. That's the bad news. The good news is that we can solve the problem of global warming quickly and relatively cheaply by putting fine sulfur particles into the lower atmosphere to deflect sunlight, much as volcanic eruptions do. But geo-engineered solutions to the warming problem create problems of their own, says Keith. First, who gets to decide what the appropriate action and timing of that action is? And how do we resolve what Keith calls the moral hazard implicit in any geo-engineered solution to global warming? After listening to his talk, you'll have a greater appreciation for the challenges confronting the negotiators at the climate change talks in Copenhagen. (Filmed: September 2007; Running time: 16:30)

Liked this talk? Try one of these.

-- Mitch Nauffts

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  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."


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