Thursday, June 16, 2016

Noam Chomsky on geoengineering climate: An endorsement for cautious research.

Interesting answers about geoengineering, the anthropocene and climate change; at the end of this recent interview on  truthout.
He also, I presume, would be ok with afforestation; a form of geoengineering.

Extracts from:
The Legacy of the Obama Administration: An Interview With Noam Chomsky
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36260-a-mixed-story-ranging-from-criminal-to-moderate-improvement-noam-chomsky-on-obama-s-legacy


What do you think of certain geoengineering undertakings to clean up the environment, such as the use of carbon negative technologies to suck carbon from the air?

These undertakings have to be evaluated with great care, paying attention to issues ranging from narrowly technical ones to large-scale societal and environmental impacts that could be quite complex and poorly understood. Sucking carbon from the air is done all the time -- planting forests -- and can presumably be carried considerably further to good effect, but I don't have the special knowledge required to provide definite answers. Other more exotic proposals have to be considered on their own merits -- and with due caution.


I thought very interesting also, the answer to the previous question:

You have argued that nuclear weapons and climate change represent the two biggest threats facing humankind. In your view, is climate change a direct effect of capitalism, the view taken by someone like Naomi Klein, or related to humanity and progress in general, a view embraced by the British philosopher John Gray?

Geologists divide planetary history into eras. The Pleistocene lasted millions of years, followed by the Holocene, which began at about the time of the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago and recently the Anthropocene, corresponding to the era of industrialization. What we call "capitalism," in practice various varieties of state-capitalism, tends in part to keep to market principles that ignore non-market factors in transactions: so-called externalities, the cost to Tom if Bill and Harry make a transaction. That is always a serious problem, like systemic risk in the financial system, in which case the taxpayer is called upon to patch up the "market failures." Another externality is destruction of the environment -- but in this case the taxpayer cannot step in to restore the system. It's not a matter of "humanity and progress," but rather of a particular form of social and economic development, which need not be specifically capitalist; the authoritarian Russian statist (not socialist) system was even worse. There are important steps that can be taken within existing systems (carbon tax, alternative energy, conservation, etc.), and they should be pursued as much as possible, along with efforts to reconstruct society and culture to serve human needs rather than power and profit.
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A #Geoengineering #Climate Issues blog - Geoingeniería by Oscar and Jocelyn Escobar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Licencia Creative Commons
A #Geoengineering #Climate Issues blog por Oscar y Jocelyn Escobar se distribuye bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional.