The plans sound like something out of the handbook of a James Bond villain: generate artificial volcanic eruptions, seed colossal clouds that shade the planet, cover the oceans in immense algal blooms visible from space. Despite seeming outrageous, such Earth-altering schemes, some argue, may be the only viable way to stave off threats posed by climate change (SN: 6/5/10, p. 16).
In The Planet Remade, journalist Oliver Morton presents the need for a real-life “Greenfinger” to cool the planet. Curbing humankind’s fossil fuel habit within the next few decades is just too tall an order considering today’s lackluster energy alternatives, he argues. So society should pursue geoengineering as a supplementary way to crank down Earth’s thermostat.
Morton’s advocacy for geoengineering separates the book from previous tomes on the subject (SN: 6/5/10, p. 28). Instead of on-the-scene reporting, he lays out the scientific case for geoengineering and addresses critics’ concerns about unintended consequences and the desire to maintain an unspoiled planet. (Agriculture and deforestation have long entangled the environment with the “human empire,” he contends.)