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Scientists stand beside a new carbon capture test unit Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The Geoengineering Fallacy

Geoengineering technologies are not yet deployable globally, but support for them is advancing fast, thanks to backing by powerful advocates eager to start experiments. But no silver bullet for climate change exists, and we must not abandon proven methods for the sake of a promise that one will be found.

BERLIN – As the world struggles to rein in emissions of climate-changing gases and limit planetary warming, a new technological silver bullet is gaining supporters. Geoengineering –the large-scale manipulation of the Earth’s natural systems – has been popularized as a means of counteracting the negative effects of climate change.

Proponents of this science feed the illusion that there is a way to engineer an exit from the climate crisis, meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, and maintain a consumption-heavy lifestyle.

But this solution is not as simple as proponents would have us believe. Betting on climate engineering – either as a planetary insurance policy or as a last-ditch measure to combat rising temperatures – is not only risky; it also directs attention away from the only solution we know will work: reducing carbon emissions.

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