Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

CAN SCIENCE FIX CLIMATE CHANGE? by Mike Hulme

  • Written by  Matt Law
  • Published in Books
CAN SCIENCE FIX CLIMATE CHANGE? by Mike Hulme
01 Jun
2014
The Plan A of climate change mitigation – namely an international agreement to cut emissions – isn’t working, as demonstrated by the unsatisfactory outcome of the 2009 Copenhagen summit. Can science provide us with a Plan B?

In this short and readable book, Mike Hulme, author of Why We Disagree about Climate Change, explores one particular Plan B – reflecting sunlight back into space using stratospheric aerosol injection. Across five chapters, he lays out the science and technology of this particular form of geoengineering, which he likens to creating a ‘thermostat in the sky’, before arguing against it, and finally proposing a different kind of role for science in tackling climate change.

The simplicity of geoengineering may seem attractive, and certainly some have argued strongly for it. However, in practice, stratospheric aerosol injection would be unworkable. The ‘thermostat’ would be ungovernable and a long-term international agreement would be required to put it in place, which seems unlikely given our current stalemate over emissions limits.

The complexity of the climate system could lead to unintended consequences; climate change isn’t indexed against rising global temperature: its impacts are unevenly distributed around the world. Hulme argues that science’s role should be grounded in pragmatism, recognising that there’s no quick fix and that we need to get on with investing in infrastructural adaptation and creating low-carbon and zero-carbon energy technologies.

Hulme concludes that we should ‘attend to liberty, justice and human security on the ground and not delude ourselves that utopias can be engineered in the sky’.

CAN SCIENCE FIX CLIMATE CHANGE? by Mike Hulme, Polity, £9.99

Subscribe to Geographical!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • Natural Capital: Putting a price on nature
    Natural capital is a way to quantify the value of the world that nature provides for us – the air, soils, water, even recreational activity. Advocat...
    The human game – tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    The nuclear power struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    Mexico City: boom town
    Twenty years ago, Mexico City was considered the ultimate urban disaster. But, recent political and economic reforms have transformed it into a hub of...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell • Thames and…

Books

by Ben Coates • Nicholas Brealey Publishing • £12.99 (paperback)

Books

by Nicholas Crane • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £12.99 (hardback)

Books

by Mary Robinson • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Pieter van der Merwe and Jeremy Michell • Bloomsbury • £18.99…

Books

by Simon Reeve • Hodder & Stoughton • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Michael Palin • Hutchinson • £20 (hardback/eBook)

Films

Powerful expedition film, screened at the 2018 Adventure Uncovered Film…

Books

by Laura Locker and Julia Scheele • Icon Books • £12.99 (paperback)

Books

by Patrick Nunn • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Oliver Bullough • Profile Books • £20 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Thomas Reinertsen Berg • Hodder & Stoughton • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Adam Rutherford • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £18.99 (hardback) • £9.99 (eBook)

Films

Ever since 1984, when the first TED conference took place,…

Exhibitions

Annual photography competition at the Natural History Museum celebrates the…

Exhibitions

We all have to live with buildings, but getting the…

Books

by Bruno Latour • Polity Books • £12.99 (hardback)

Books

edited by Fearghal O’Nuallain • Summersdale • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Francis Fukuyama • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)