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The ethical quagmire of geoengineering

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planet earth (NASA)
planet earth (NASA)

The question of how to tackle climate change is as complex as its potential answers are numerous. Which causes of climate change should we be concerned with, what are the potential side effects of our solution, and who benefits most from the action we choose to undertake? The most drastic set of available countermeasures have been bundled into a relatively new category of so-called geoengineering: human attempts at controlling the whole planet's climate.

Adam Corner of Cardiff University has addressed this topic in a recent article for Aeon Magazine, wherein he sets out both the practical and ethical quandaries that geoengineering gives rise to. Among the pertinent questions he asks, the most fundamental is why we, as humans, seem to prefer the idea of controlling the global climate instead of controlling our own behavior. Anthropogenic climate change may not be universally agreed upon, but humanity's overconsumption of resources and pollution of the environment are well established — why not try curtailing those before blocking out the sun just to keep the planet cool?