Skip to main content

Applied sciences and engineering/Engineering/Geological engineering

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions or adapting to their consequences are the best-known strategies for dealing with climate change, but geoengineering strategies deserve closer attention, experts said at a Capitol Hill briefing.

With recent cap and trade climate legislation apparently stalled in the U.S. Senate, a panel at the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy urged policy makers and scientists to look at climate change issues beyond simply reducing emissions.

The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the stimulus act, provided $21.5 billion for federal research and development. Among the act’s benefits to society, more than 400,000 jobs for one year were expected to be created or saved. Now policy makers are investigating the impact that those funds have made on creating jobs, expanding scientific knowledge, and spurring the economy.

With nations incapable so far of taking drastic steps to cut emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, many scientists and policy specialists have started talking more openly about geoengineering, the deliberate manipulation of the environment to reverse the effects of climate change.

For them, geoengineering may be “a bad idea whose time has come,” said Eli Kintisch, a reporter for Science, at a AAAS forum on the topic.