Segments in this Video

Debate "Housekeeping" (05:18)


Moderator John Donvan frames the debate on whether geoengineering studies should be conducted to potentially ameliorate climate change effects.

Opening Statement For: Anjali Viswamohanan (07:01)

Chevening scholar at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, Viswamohanan argues that human beings do not need solar geoengineering. Clive Hamilton will discuss controlling the technology and global security implications. Scientists need to examine how to cool the earth fast and maintain the temperature; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change did not include the technology in its report because of risks and knowledge gaps.

Opening Statement Against: Ted Parson (06:56)

Faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change at UCLA, Parson argues that marginalizing solar geoengineering research is dangerous for the environment. Transitioning the world from fossil fuels to solar energy will take years. Governance needs to be established with International oversight.

Opening Statement For: Clive Hamilton (07:18)

Professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra and Author of "Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering," Hamilton argues that the countries responsible for climate change will control and exploit the technology. Controlling the weather benefits the military. World leaders cannot be trusted with such power over nature.

Opening Statement Against: David Keith (06:22)

Professor at Harvard University and founder of Carbon Engineering, Keith believes that emissions can reach zero but it is not a complete solution to the issue of climate change. Human beings must stop putting carbon dioxide into the world; removing it from the atmosphere is a slow and expensive process. Aerosols in the atmosphere uniformly sprayed across the planet are a panacea.

Aerosols into the Atmosphere (07:13)

Donvan summarizes opening statements. Keith explains that airplanes will place the sulfuric acid into the stratosphere which will spread across the planet. The sulfur would be extracted from coal power plants.

Precipitation Change (06:10)

Extreme tropical cyclones would be reduced with the technology. Keith insists that he is not advocating for a complete return to pre-climate change. Hamilton explains that Keith's plan has evolved to make solar geoengineering more palatable to the human race.

Philosophical Issues (04:47)

The panel agrees that solar geoengineering should not be a substitute for cutting carbon emissions. Hamilton worries about a constituency of control developing, ownership of the results, and political implications. Carnegie-Melon studies whether it is legal to ban patents. If the world plans on utilizing the Stratoshield, it must pay Nathan Myhrvold for the right.

Moral Hazard (06:14)

The United Kingdom and Germany have withdrawn support for geo-engineering research. Sectional control by a powerful group is dangerous. The fossil fuel industries will argue for removing taxes and deforestation regulations.

Q/A: Individual Acting Alone (03:08)

All individuals operate under the legal jurisdiction of a country. Viswamohanan describes how an entrepreneur dumped iron into the water to reduce ocean acidification.

Q/A: Health Risks (03:24)

Sulfates in the stratosphere will cool the planet with 1,000 times less of a health impact. Aerosols will reduce the amount of solar energy on the planet's surface.

Q/A: Why Not Start Now (04:03)

Keith explains that only a small amount of scientists are currently working on solar geoengineering. More research from a more diverse group is necessary before implementation. Parsons argues governance cannot occur until some research is completed.

Q/A: Urgency to Solve (08:40)

Solar geoengineering, reducing emissions, adaptation, lessening local risks, and removing carbon dioxide are the five factors to stop climate change. Focusing on unproven technologies would be distracting and deter a solution. Proving aerosol is an effective alternative would take ten years to prove after implementation.

Concluding Statement For: Viswamohanan (02:28)

Solar geoengineering is filled with uncertainties and could threaten international peace and security. In a precautionary approach, an action first avoids doing any harm.

Concluding Statement Against: Parson (03:07)

Climate change is a slow-motion train wreck. If human beings had started cutting emissions in 1990, there would be no need for solar geoengineering. The technology needs further study, critical investigation of its governance.

Concluding Statement For: Hamilton (02:15)

Climatic preferences of rich white people who brought on the crisis will prevail when implementing solar geoengineering technologies. A study in artificial intelligence demonstrates biases of African-American and Hispanic individuals.

Concluding Statement Against: Keith (01:57)

The decision to implement solar geoengineering will happen decades into the future. Research must be conducted in order to provide an adequate understanding.

Time to Vote (05:10)

Donvan compliments panelists on their closing statements and conduct and instructs the audience to vote. Debaters discuss reasons behind the United States and Saudi Arabia blocking a U.N. Resolution on Solar geoengineering.

Audience Vote Results (01:06)

Pre-Debate - For: 24% - Against: 37% - Undecided: 39% Post-Debate - For: 19% - Against: 75% - Undecided: 6%

Credits: Engineering Solar Radiation Is a Crazy Idea: A Debate (00:09)

Credits: Engineering Solar Radiation Is a Crazy Idea: A Debate

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Engineering Solar Radiation Is a Crazy Idea: A Debate

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Geoengineering is an ambitious set of methods proposed by scientists to help mitigate the effects of climate change. And one type in particular—solar geoengineering—has been the subject of growing debate. Solar geoengineering involves several techniques, including injecting reflective particles into the stratosphere to reduce the amount of solar radiation and heat that reaches the Earth. This process, some scientists claim, could lower global temperatures and slow climate change. Solar geoengineering would be inexpensive and effective, supporters argue, and could both minimize glacier melt and lessen the intensity of tropical storms. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that solar geoengineering does not address the underlying issues of climate change and warn that it could alter weather systems or possibly even cool the planet too much. They also worry about oversight and control, noting that any country could implement solar geoengineering, perhaps triggering unintended consequences that could affect the entire planet. Is engineering solar radiation a viable technique? Or is it a crazy idea?

Length: 93 minutes

Item#: BVL185760

ISBN: 978-1-64623-094-5

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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