Geo-Engineering: Debate between "stable solutions" and "fancy fantasies"

07/16/2012 - Gigantic sun mirrors in the earth’s orbit, the vaccination of clouds or the fertilization of oceans: well-known scientists discussed the possibilities and risks of large-scale interventions in the earth system last week. The director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), John Schellnhuber, the scientific director of IASS, Marc Lawrence, Ken Caldeira from the University of Stanford in California and professor of philosophy Konrad Ott from the University of Greifswald debated the topic of “Geo-Engineering – blessing or curse?” at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin.
Geo-Engineering: Debate between "stable solutions" and "fancy fantasies"
Visitors following the discussion at Robert Bosch Stiftung

The number of interested visitors was clearly larger than the number of seats provided. More than 100 listeners followed the discussion on the manipulation of the earth’s thermostat in the interplay of scientific curiosity, technical feasibility, ecological and ethical implications. The talk was moderated by journalist Markus Becker (Spiegel). In the end, the debate about geo-engineering as a response to climate change boiled down to a simple and cardinal decision, PIK director Schellnhuber summed up the evening: “Why should you go for a fancy fantasy if you have a stable solution at hand?”, Schellnhuber asked. “Anybody who wants to protect not only the climate, but also wants to solve the energy problem has to opt for renewable energies.”

The public panel discussion was part of the PIK initiated Global Sustainability Summer School (GSSS), gathering spearheading climate scientists and young academics from July 8th to July 21 in Potsdam. The GSSS takes place both at PIK and IASS.

Link to the GSSS website