8 mins

‘Geostorm’ movie shows dangers of hacking the climate – we need to talk about real-world geoengineering now

Jane A. Flegal, University of California, Berkeley and Andrew Maynard, Arizona State University Hollywood’s latest disaster flick, “Geostorm,” is premised on the idea that humans have figured out how to control the Earth’s climate. A powerful satellite-based technology allows users to fine-tune the weather, overcoming the ravages of climate change. Everyone, everywhere can quite literally ...

7 mins

Owning the carbon cycle

This evening I was invited to talk to a group of industry leaders on alternative solutions to the “carbon” problem at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.  The brief was to be one of three “firestarters” – a bit of a dangerous one if you ask me.  Given the informal setting (this was ...

Ten emerging technology trends to watch over the next decade

Ten years ago at the close of the 20th century, people the world over were obsessing about the millennium bug – an unanticipated glitch arising from an earlier technology.  I wonder how clear it was then that, despite this storm in what turned out to be a rather small teacup, the following decade would see ...

Reversing the Technological Dilemma

By George Kimbrell, International Center for Technology Assessment, and the Center for Food Safety A guest blog in the Alternative Perspectives on Technology Innovation series Andrew asked us to write about “how technological innovation should contribute to life in the 21st century.”  Technological innovation is often blindly referred to as “progress.”  The question is — ...

2 mins

Geoengineering options: Balancing effectiveness and safety

An interesting aspect of today’s Royal Society report on geoengineering is the attempt to rate twelve potential approaches to engineering the climate by effectiveness, affordability, timeliness and safety – and to graphically compare the approaches in terms of these criteria. While the ratings and the resulting diagram are somewhat subjective (the report’s authors call them ...

Engaging the public on nanotechnology

Following up on my last post – Geoengineering the planet with nanotechnology ice-cream? – here’s a short video Zoe Papadopoulou and colleagues put together on The Cloud Project from my visit in June: [flashvideo file=/movies/20090707/ice_cream.flv image=movies/20090707/ice_cream.jpg width=580 height=366 /] Although this was filmed before the finishing touches had been applied to the ice cream van, ...

Geoengineering the planet with nanotechnology ice-cream?

Scientists and engineers have their moments. But it they are hard pressed to beat art students when it comes to sheer audacious creativity. Earlier this year I received an email so intriguing I couldn’t help but follow up on it. The email was from Zoe Papadopoulou, an MA student at the Royal College of Art ...

4 mins

Geoengineering: Are we grown up enough to handle it?

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to unite global warming “denialists” on both sides of the aisle, it’s geoengineering – the intentional planet-wide manipulation of the environment.  At least, you might be left with that impression after reading the comments following a thoughtful piece in Monday’s Wall Street Journal by Jamais Cascio. Cascio describes himself ...

4 mins

Steve Chu’s White Revolution

It feels good to be ahead of the curve sometimes. About this time last year, I was slaving away painting my roof white – much to the bemusement of my Northern Virginia neighbors and friends. So I couldn’t help feeling just a little smug this morning as I read that US Secretary of Energy Steve ...

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