This publication is a chapter in the book Facing up to Climate Reality: Honesty, Disaster and Hope, an edited collection published by Green House.
The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate was hailed as a successful breakthrough in the process of addressing anthropogenic climate change. However, the truth is that the agreement is hollow, anthropogenic climate change is accel-erating dangerously and little real action is being taken, action of the kind and at the scale that would actually measure up to the threat. Instead, there is a desperate search for any kind of ‘solution’ that avoids having to reduce emissions and collectively tackling our deeply fossil-energy-dependent model of ‘development’. In fact, the Paris agreement contains major loopholes and a central one of these is its tacit reliance on geoengineering. This involves basi-cally two approaches: proposals for technologies to (a) reduce incoming solar radiation, that is: reduce the heating effect of the sun and (b) remove green-house gases from the atmosphere. However, the agreement fails to ask what are the risks involved in such approaches, and above all, who decides—and who has the mandate—to take those risks, which involve the whole planet and all of humanity, present and future. Can seeking to engineer the climate possibly ever be consistent with precaution?
Our key claim in this chapter will be that to gamble on geoengineering is precisely to avoid facing up to climate reality.