Under TNC's Rule Of Ignorance ("Don't speak of what you don't know"), I've avoided the spat over Superfreakonomics. Still I thought this post by Nate Silver on geoengineering was really interesting. The basic idea, behind geoengineering, as much as I can tell, is to fight climate change by changing the atmosphere, instead of (or in addition to) our behavior.
Silver's doing some reporting on geoengineering for a book, and spent some time talking to British scientist John Latham about geoengineering. This quote, from Latham, says a lot to me:
"The thing that has scared everyone I know working in geoengineering, and the thing that has caused a lot of very good scientists to say we shouldn't have it is the worry that if it was announced that geoengineering was to be thoroughly examined, there would be a temptation on behalf of the oil companies to say, "Oh well, they're going to solve the problem, we can keep burning fossil fuels". Which is the last thing anyone wants. But then to not examine it would be irresponsible. If we reach that tipping point, we want to be in the position to be able to help out."
I'm not sure if this is humanity as an animal, or just a product of our times, but this fear that we would take a fast food approach to climate change strikes me as entirely credible. Given the choice between shooting sulfur into the sky and avoiding hamburger, I'm fairly sure we'd choose the hamburger