Ethics of Geoengineering (anything new?)

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Ken Caldeira

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Apr 6, 2012, 5:27:30 PM4/6/12
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Having but an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, you can forgive me for asking stupid questions, but ...

Does geoengineering raise any ethical issues not already considered by historical figures such as Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and so on?

Isn't the ethics of making decisions that affect others not involved in making the decisions a problem as old as humanity?

I just don't understand how there is anything new here for philosophy.

Surely there are difficult decisions to be made with moral dimensions, but I just can't imagine how geoengineering could pose fundamentally new philosophic problems.

Perhaps someone can compensate for my failure of imagination and tell me in what way geoengineering poses fundamentally new philosophic problems not previously addressed.




_______________
Ken Caldeira

Carnegie Institution Dept of Global Ecology
260 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305 USA
+1 650 704 7212 kcal...@carnegie.stanford.edu
http://dge.stanford.edu/labs/caldeiralab  @kencaldeira

Currently visiting  Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)  


On Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 10:58 PM, Andrea Gammon <a.r.g...@gmail.com> wrote:
The Mansfield Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at the University of Montana (with support from the National Science Foundation) is pleased to announce the launch of the Ethics of Geoengineering Online Resource Center.

We have attempted to make this an exhaustive resource for materials, organizations, and events related to geoengineering and ethics. We will continue to work to make the site increasingly comprehensive, accessible, and engaging. We welcome feedback and suggestions about significant resources that are not yet included. Please bring to our attention any papers, events, and other media you think may be missing.

Visit the site at: http://www.umt.edu/ethics/resourcecenter/default.php

Please email feedback or suggestions to geoenginee...@gmail.com

Thanks!

Andrea Gammon
Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Philosophy
University of Montana, '13

Christopher Preston 
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Fellow at the Program on Ethics and Public Affairs 
University of Montana

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Ken Caldeira

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Apr 6, 2012, 6:01:55 PM4/6/12
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You are saying is that there are difficult moral decisions to be made. That is certainly true.

That is different from saying that this poses new questions for the academic discipline of philosophy.

I see philosophy as a discipline that is largely aimed at identifying truths that are mainly independent of empirical facts (although sometimes consideration of empirical facts can lead us to see truths that are fundamentally independent of those facts). Furthermore, sometimes empirical facts change the meanings of words in ways that change the truth value of statements. Neuroscience has perhaps influenced philosophy of mind or philosophy of language in this way.

There are many problems that pose ethical dilemmas that demand moral thought and reflection, where the choice of action clearly depends on empirical facts, but these dilemmas typically do not pose fundamentally new problems for philosophical investigation.

I just don't understand what the new philosophical research is that needs to be done in the field of geoengineering ( as opposed to applying old philosophical insights to new empirical facts ).


On Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 11:38 PM, Jamais Cascio <cas...@openthefuture.com> wrote:
I think it's primarily a question of scale. The underlying philosophical questions aren't new, but the scale at which the questions apply -- in terms of both time and geography -- is comparable to only a few other issues (most notably, nuclear weapons). There are few substantive issues that have this kind of (literally) planetary-level importance coupled with the condition of being direct human choices (as opposed to second-order consequences).

In other words, getting this wrong could screw over nearly everyone, potentially for multiple generations.

-Jamais Cascio

Jamais Cascio

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Apr 6, 2012, 5:38:23 PM4/6/12
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I think it's primarily a question of scale. The underlying philosophical questions aren't new, but the scale at which the questions apply -- in terms of both time and geography -- is comparable to only a few other issues (most notably, nuclear weapons). There are few substantive issues that have this kind of (literally) planetary-level importance coupled with the condition of being direct human choices (as opposed to second-order consequences).

In other words, getting this wrong could screw over nearly everyone, potentially for multiple generations.

-Jamais Cascio


On Apr 6, 2012, at 2:27 PM, Ken Caldeira wrote:

John Latham

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Apr 6, 2012, 6:09:05 PM4/6/12
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Hello Ken et al,

Not having an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, and my
involvement with the subject being confined to participating in
demonstrations and marches led by Bertrand Russell in the
1950/1960s, I am not competent to challenge or comment on
any of the specific points Ken raises.

But I wonder whether - since geoengineering is related to issues
concerned with a novel situation: the possible extinction of many
of Earth's life-forms and associated massive planetary disruption
- there may be philosophical questions hitherto not recognised or
fully examined, perhaps not thought to be important or valid, which
could profitably be addressed now.

I do not know the answer to this question.

All Best Wishes, John.

John Latham
Address: P.O. Box 3000,MMM,NCAR,Boulder,CO 80307-3000
Email: lat...@ucar.edu or john.l...@manchester.ac.uk
Tel: (US-Work) 303-497-8182 or (US-Home) 303-444-2429
or (US-Cell) 303-882-0724 or (UK) 01928-730-002
http://www.mmm.ucar.edu/people/latham
________________________________________
From: geoengi...@googlegroups.com [geoengi...@googlegroups.com] on behalf of Ken Caldeira [kcal...@carnegie.stanford.edu]
Sent: Friday, April 06, 2012 10:27 PM
To: a.r.g...@gmail.com
Cc: ISE...@listserv.tamu.edu; geoengi...@googlegroups.com
Subject: [geo] Ethics of Geoengineering (anything new?)

Having but an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, you can forgive me for asking stupid questions, but ...

Does geoengineering raise any ethical issues not already considered by historical figures such as Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and so on?

Isn't the ethics of making decisions that affect others not involved in making the decisions a problem as old as humanity?

I just don't understand how there is anything new here for philosophy.

Surely there are difficult decisions to be made with moral dimensions, but I just can't imagine how geoengineering could pose fundamentally new philosophic problems.

Perhaps someone can compensate for my failure of imagination and tell me in what way geoengineering poses fundamentally new philosophic problems not previously addressed.


_______________
Ken Caldeira

Carnegie Institution Dept of Global Ecology
260 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305 USA

+1 650 704 7212 kcal...@carnegie.stanford.edu<mailto:kcal...@carnegie.stanford.edu>
http://dge.stanford.edu/labs/caldeiralab @kencaldeira

Currently visiting Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)<http://www.iass-potsdam.de/>
and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Resarch (PIK)<http://www.pik-potsdam.de/> in Potsdam, Germany.

On Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 10:58 PM, Andrea Gammon <a.r.g...@gmail.com<mailto:a.r.g...@gmail.com>> wrote:
The Mansfield Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at the University of Montana (with support from the National Science Foundation) is pleased to announce the launch of the Ethics of Geoengineering Online Resource Center.

We have attempted to make this an exhaustive resource for materials, organizations, and events related to geoengineering and ethics. We will continue to work to make the site increasingly comprehensive, accessible, and engaging. We welcome feedback and suggestions about significant resources that are not yet included. Please bring to our attention any papers, events, and other media you think may be missing.

Visit the site at: <https://ch1prd0102.outlook.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=OWAMf8GxrUmH3DmLPhvEmRVCg4-F5s4Ia3rgDEllyFha_7YuC8CjtGrFU9mOVuqXWwDCLmctAsw.&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.umt.edu%2fethics%2fresourcecenter%2fdefault.php> http://www.umt.edu/ethics/resourcecenter/default.php

Please email feedback or suggestions to <mailto:geoenginee...@gmail.com> geoenginee...@gmail.com<mailto:geoenginee...@gmail.com>

Thanks!

Andrea Gammon
Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Philosophy
University of Montana, '13

Christopher Preston
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Fellow at the Program on Ethics and Public Affairs
University of Montana


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John Gorman

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Apr 7, 2012, 3:30:30 AM4/7/12
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Sounds like another case for the quote from Robert Samuelson (economist)
"The trouble with the global warming debate is that it
has become a moral crusade when it's really an engineering problem. The
inconvenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we're
helpless."

john gorman (engineer)

Andrea Gammon

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Apr 7, 2012, 1:12:45 PM4/7/12
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Hi Ken, John, and all,

You are definitely right in part. Many of the issues raised by geoengineering are familiar issues in ethics involving questions of harm, risk, uncertainty, potential moral corruption, and participation.

Other issues are familiar but perhaps scaled up. These would be issues like the (alleged) moral hazard, the whole politics of geoengineering, a particularly challenging type of responsibility to future generations, and the question of whether this is a problem best suited to a technical fix.

And then there are probably a couple of issues that are new(-ish) in this context. These might include the morality of intentional manipulation of earth systems at this level, what this does to the idea of 'natural', and questions about fairness in regards to climate manipulation. Broad discussions about hubris and the proper role of humans in the biosphere have also been cropping up in discussions of geoengineering by environmental ethicists.

To John's suggestion that this should be treated as merely an engineering problem, one might note (with David Keith and others) that engineers design solutions for for particular clients/publics. What counts as a solution depends on the values people hold. This means that engineers are compelled to incorporate moral values in their work. And of course there is a whole literature is science studies (somewhat controversial) about the presence of values in much of science.

On our end and in our work, we encourage those involved in the more technical aspects of geoengineering to entertain ethical questions in the discussion. Ethicists are going to be hovering around the periphery anyway, for instance, there is a panel on the ethics of geoengineering at the International Society for Environmental Ethics meeting in June. Numerous parties, from Crutzen to the Royal Society to the NSF, see ethics as a legitimate and essential part of the discussion.

Best, 
Andrea and Christopher

Nathan Currier

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Apr 7, 2012, 2:30:31 PM4/7/12
to geoengineering
Sorry, I meant to post the below to this thread, in response to Ken's
query, but hit the wrong button.
On the other hand, the post of Andrea and Christopher makes me wonder
how it will get interpreted....
the very approach to "ethics" here suggests a conventional framework
in which what I raise might
not seem to make much sense....But why did Lewis Thomas say that it
(the "four letter" concept referenced below),
might eventually be seen as "one of the major discontinuities in human
thought"? It is such a big idea because it
ultimately calls into question far-reaching things like the very
subject for any ethics. What is the "entity" of the ethics,
the individual? What is that? There are ten times more cells without
my nucleic DNA than with it, inside my own body,
so what become of "my" interests? Like arguing about the "unit of
selection" in evolutionary theory, arguments about
what define "superorganisms" are immensely impactful to the very
foundations of considering values for
human behavior, ethics.





Hi, Ken -
That there's "nothing new under the sun" is equally true for
philosophy and
solar radiation management, I suppose, yet this doesn't prevent
philosophy
from continuing on, changing, and, yes, sometimes circling its wagons
over millennia.
I think that, philosophically speaking, there's something important
and
different in our time, if not entirely new, that entirely surrounds
geoengineering but
isn't just the geoengineering itself. But sorry, to get into it one
needs to take up that
uber-dangerous "four letter word," as it's been called. Don't worry, I
won't name it.
Fred Pearce said that "if ---- dare not speak her name in Nature, then
shame on science."
Moral philosopher Mary Midley made a strong case that this represents
a
a major change in philosophy for our time. Her book Science and Poetry
is
all about tracing lines of thought from Lucretius through Dawkins (I'm
not sure
I am convinced by how she posits De Rerum Natura in relation to modern
thought, but it
makes a most interesting read), finally focusing on the "four-letter"
approach as a new
way of getting beyond certain old "atomist" arguments. Lynn Margulis
sometimes
said that Americans seem particularly prone to feel that it isn't
important to have any
philosophy, but if one wants to get into a discussion of
geoengineering and philosophy,
it would seem to me almost impossible to stay shy from the new "four-
letter" world and
all the disputes about it and what it really means - indeed, one could
even say the
dirty word IS the philosophy of geoengineering: as Midgley points out,
the word geophysiology
was introduced specifically to frame the "four letter" concept,
launching with it a 'medical model'
in which the planet is conceived something like a patient to be
doctored......wouldn't that be
geoengineering? So, the new ethical issue, Ken, is ------!

Cheers,
Nathan
> > +1 650 704 7212 kcalde...@carnegie.stanford.edu
> >http://dge.stanford.edu/labs/caldeiralab @kencaldeira
>
> > *Currently visiting * Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)<http://www.iass-potsdam.de/>
>
> > *and *Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Resarch (PIK)<http://www.pik-potsdam.de/>
> >  *in Potsdam, Germany.*
>
> > On Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 10:58 PM, Andrea Gammon <a.r.gam...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
> >> The Mansfield Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at the University of
> >> Montana (with support from the National Science Foundation) is pleased to
> >> announce the launch of the Ethics of Geoengineering Online Resource Center.
>
> >> We have attempted to make this an exhaustive resource for materials,
> >> organizations, and events related to geoengineering and ethics. We will
> >> continue to work to make the site increasingly comprehensive, accessible,
> >> and engaging. We welcome feedback and suggestions about significant
> >> resources that are not yet included. Please bring to our attention any
> >> papers, events, and other media you think may be missing.
>
> >> Visit the site at: <https://ch1prd0102.outlook.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=OWAMf8GxrUmH3DmLPhvEm...>
> >>http://www.umt.edu/ethics/resourcecenter/default.php
>
> >> Please email feedback or suggestions to <geoengineeringeth...@gmail.com>
> >> geoengineeringeth...@gmail.com
>
> >> Thanks!
>
> >> Andrea Gammon
> >> Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Philosophy
> >> University of Montana, '13
>
> >> Christopher Preston
> >> Associate Professor of Philosophy and Fellow at the Program on Ethics and
> >> Public Affairs
> >> University of Montana
> >> *
> >> *

Ninad Bondre

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Apr 7, 2012, 3:20:38 PM4/7/12
to geoengineering
Ken,

I am not sure why the question of "anything new" arose, but I agree
with what Nathan states in the first paragraph of his earlier email.
Some additional thoughts here as my view of philosophy differs from
yours.

Novelty doesn't play the same role in philosophical inquiry as it
might in scientific research. The fundamental questions of (Western)
philosophy have remained essentially the same; yet this has in no way
led to the demise or even stagnation of philosophy as an academic
discipline. This is because "Applying old philosophical insights to
new empirical facts" -- in a new social, political and historic
context -- is bread and butter of philosophical inquiry. This is a
process by which the old insights are themselves transformed, in
tangible and intangible ways. Empirical facts are as important to
philosophy as are other ways of knowing. Philosophy is neither solely
an ascetic or contemplative pursuit nor one confined to academic ivory
towers, but instead one that each of us engages in simply by virtue of
being engaged with the world. New philosophical research is not an
endless quest for new questions and its quality or relevance cannot be
judged in this fashion.

Coming to geoengineering, I think that elucidating the attendant
ethical dilemmas and understanding how people choose to address those
is most fertile ground for philosophical investigation in the
academia.

Best,

Ninad

Georg P Kössler

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Apr 7, 2012, 5:48:47 AM4/7/12
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Hello!

Why is it an engineering problem? We have all the technical things we need. Electrical cars e.g. were available in the 1990s (but were forced out of the market) an solar panels are today competitive. We have the ability to geoengineer the planet (although testing would be needed). It is mainly - not solely - a question of political will, hence of morality as well. Making it a technical problem helps nobody (except maybe some engineers in need of reasearch funding).

Best,
:) Georg, a political scientist


Send from my mobile.

---

Georg P. Kössler

Tel.: 0176/62050750

Michael Hayes

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Apr 7, 2012, 5:47:48 PM4/7/12
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Hi Folks,
 
I have often found my thoughts on the ethics issue streaming back to the issue of the definition of GE.
 
In short, the difference between 'intentional' modification of the climate and 'unintentionaly', yet knowingly, causing such at the second order (global) effect level seems to be a distinction without a difference.
 
Clearly, the use of FFs is causing climate change and we know that to a high degree of certainty. Is not the further use of FFs an act of GE in of itself? The legal concepts of "Indifference to Risk"(1) and "Deliberate Indifference Law"(2) seems to adversely addresses, show a flaw in, the use of the word "intentional" as it is used to define GE.
 
Simply put: With the current understanding of the role FF use has on our climate, should not the continued use of FFs be accepted as a true form of GE?
 
 
This overall ethics issue must first be looked at from the perspective of Metaethics. In simplistic terms, Metaethics is, first and foremost, the 'art' of reaching agreed upon definition(s). Only after the definition(s) are agreed upon can the relationship between the subject and society be illuminated. That is the only way a Venn Diagram, concerning GE or apples and oranges, can be built. Only after this stage is thoroughly debated (yes..both pro and con....and so far there has been little ethical defence of GE) can the fields of normative and applied ethics be properly applied.
 
For those just exploring the finer details of the ethical issue, Stanford's Encyclopedia has a good primer on the foundational nature of Metaethics:
 
 
I have yet noticed any work, by those who have taken up the challenge of GE ethics, which addresses the fundamental issue of validating the current/basic definition of GE. It appears to me that the word 'Intentional', used within the standard definition of GE, has blinded the ethics debate to the cogent and apparent 900lb (FF) gorilla sitting upon our collective chest. Is not the large scale use of FFs changing our environment? Intentionally or unintentionally? Is this Intentional/unintentional distinction a false distinction that make little real world difference?
 
Being indifferent to the reality that FF based anthropogenic GE is a current and substantial real world fact must be rejected. Due to the highly dangerous nature of the continued FF use to our environment, our only collective hope of survival is to immediately reject FF use or design ways to substantially mediate the damage caused by continued global FF usage.
 
The first option will not be even remotely realistic for many decades. The second option is thus our only 'ethical' option if we wish to avoid collective suicide. At this time in our global social development, collective suicide is widely considered 'unethical'. And thus, the reasonable means to avoid such a suicidal situation (GE) must be considered 'ethical'.
 
I personally find the ethical issue somewhat straight forward. We either collectively accept large scale mitigation of the environmental damage of continued FF usage (until a non-FF economy becomes real) or we parish while debating the obvious mitigation alternative(s), i.e. GE. 
 
Freedom which comes with having many options is widely viewed as the 'sweetest' and most desirable form of freedom. Unfortunately, until a renewable energy economy is widely developed and used upon this planet, we collectively have very few viable options for surviving the FF economy. Ignoring the real world aspects of our FF addiction (knowingly changing the environment and being indifferent to the obvious GE aspects of continued FF usage....etc.) and then declaring as 'unethical' the few 'intentional' GE options for mitigating the damage of that addiction is not rational.....Thus, nor is such a view ethical.
 
When ethics become irrational, we truly have no hope.
 
Michael  
--
Michael Hayes
 

O Morton

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Apr 8, 2012, 3:13:48 AM4/8/12
to geoengineering
I agree with Ninad; philosophy feeds on novelty in its continual
reassessments; it doesn't assimilate it in a serial model of progress.
Many philosophical problems are not solved (though they may be moved
outside the realm of philosophy by other developments), and few are
novel. There's a relevant quotation from Wittgenstein:

“Philosophy has made no progress? If somebody scratches where it
itches, does that count as progress? If not, does that mean it wasn’t
an authentic scratch? Not an authentic itch? Couldn’t this response to
the stimulus go on for quite a long time until a remedy for itching is
found?”

Geoengineering may be a new itch for philosophy to scratch, and
scratching is not an inappropriate response to itches.

And again as Ninad said, changes in the way science views the world
may change the way we philosophise. Parfitt's notion of
intergeneratonal justice (which is clearly relevant to geoengineering
and climate issues) clearly rests on seeing what makes a person
through a particular biological lens (see http://ijdb.auzigog.com/concept/parfit%E2%80%99s-paradox
)

On Apr 7, 10:47 pm, Michael Hayes <voglerl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Folks,
>
> I have often found my thoughts on the ethics issue streaming back to the
> issue of the definition of GE.
>
> In short, the difference between '*intentional' *modification of the
> climate and *'unintentionaly',* yet knowingly, causing such at the second
> order (global) effect level seems to be a distinction without a difference.
>
> Clearly, the use of FFs is causing climate change and we know that to a
> high degree of certainty. Is not the further use of FFs an act of GE in of
> itself? The legal concepts of "Indifference to Risk"(1) and "Deliberate
> Indifference Law"(2) seems to adversely addresses, show a flaw in, the use
> of the word "intentional" as it is used to define GE.
>
> Simply put: With the current understanding of the role FF use has on our
> climate, should not the continued use of FFs be accepted as a true form of
> GE?
>
> 1: Indifference to Risk Law:http://definitions.uslegal.com/i/indifference-to-risk/
> 2: Deliberate Indifference Law:http://definitions.uslegal.com/d/deliberate-indifference/
>
> This overall ethics issue must first be looked at from the perspective
> of Metaethics. In simplistic terms, Metaethics is, first and foremost, the *
> 'art'* of reaching agreed upon definition(s). Only after the definition(s)
> are agreed upon can the relationship between the subject and society be
> illuminated. That is the only way a Venn Diagram, concerning GE or apples
> and oranges, can be built. Only after this stage is thoroughly debated
> (yes..both pro and con....and so far there has been little ethical defence
> of GE) can the fields of normative and applied ethics be properly applied.
>
> For those just exploring the finer details of the ethical issue, Stanford's
> Encyclopedia has a good primer on the foundational nature of Metaethics:
>
> http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaethics/
>
> I have yet noticed any work, by those who have taken up the challenge of GE
> ethics, which addresses the fundamental issue of *validating* the
> current/basic definition of GE. It appears to me that the word *
> 'Intentional'*, used within the standard definition of GE, has blinded the
> ethics debate to the cogent and apparent 900lb (FF) gorilla sitting upon
> our collective chest. Is not the large scale use of FFs changing our
> environment? Intentionally or unintentionally? Is this
> Intentional/unintentional distinction a false distinction that make little
> real world difference?
>
> Being indifferent to the reality that *FF based anthropogenic GE* is a
> current and substantial real world fact must be rejected. Due to the highly
> dangerous nature of the continued FF use to our environment, our only
> collective hope of survival is to immediately reject FF use or design ways
> to substantially mediate the damage caused by continued global FF usage.
>
> The first option will not be even remotely realistic for many decades. The
> second option is thus our only *'ethical'* option if we wish to avoid
> collective suicide. At this time in our global social development,
> collective suicide is widely considered *'unethical'*. And thus, the
> reasonable means to avoid such a suicidal situation (GE) *must* be
> considered *'ethical'*.
>
> I personally find the ethical issue somewhat straight forward. We either
> collectively accept large scale mitigation of the environmental damage of
> continued FF usage (until a non-FF economy becomes real) or we parish while
> debating the obvious mitigation alternative(s), i.e. GE.
>
> Freedom which comes with having many options is widely viewed as the
> 'sweetest' and most desirable form of freedom. Unfortunately, until a
> renewable energy economy is widely developed and used upon this planet, we
> collectively have very few viable options for surviving the FF economy.
> Ignoring the real world aspects of our FF addiction (knowingly changing the
> environment and being indifferent to the* obvious GE aspects of continued
> FF usage*....etc.) and then declaring as '*unethical'* the few
> 'intentional' GE options for mitigating the damage of that addiction is not
> rational.....Thus, nor is such a view ethical.
>
> When ethics become irrational, we truly have no hope.
>
> Michael
>
> ...
>
> read more »

Ron Larson

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Apr 8, 2012, 5:49:51 AM4/8/12
to O Morton, geoengineering
Geoengineering list, especially Andrea Gammon

I mainly write to ask if the University of Montana and other Universities doing ethics studies are considering "Geoengineering" to be identical to SRM - or whether the term also includes CDR. Of the dozen or so messages so far in this thread, I can only detect SRM.

To Ken's point, I can agree that existing Ethical theory probably does not need much additional research. But I doubt there are many parallel examples where one term covers such fundamentally different options. With SRM, the issue is primarily in balancing risks and the need for R&D. With CDR, the issues are speed and costs. Unusual also perhaps for both is the presence of active, well-funded deniers.

Ron

On Apr 8, 2012, at 1:13 AM, O Morton <omeco...@gmail.com> wrote:

Ken Caldeira

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Apr 8, 2012, 8:03:36 AM4/8/12
to omeco...@gmail.com, geoengineering
I think I simply use the word 'philosophy' different than most modern philosophers.

Just as I think of mathematicians developing new mathematical theory while the rest of us apply existing theory to do calculations aimed at solving real world pproblems, I thought philosophers were developing new general theory and the rest of were applying this theory in our own moral calculations.

It seems to me that alot of what is beig called 'philosphy' is people trying to do moral calculations.

Often math progresses because a calculational need arises for which there is no existig relevant mathematical theory and this spurs the mathematicians to develop new theory

It seems to me that the ethics of decision making when decisions affect others not involved in the decision making is a problem as old as the hills.

I just don't see how this itch is going to need a scratch of a different kind. Aren't existig types of scratches are sufficient? I will be suprised if geoengineering will really be an irritant that can spur philosophical innovation. Not impossible, but I am dubious.

In contrast, I do see how neuroscience can perhaps act a an tch that promotes new types if philosophical scratches.

Ken Caldeira
kcal...@carnegie.stanford.edu
+1 650 704 7212
http://dge.stanford.edu/labs/caldeiralab

Sent from a limited-typing keyboard

Ben Hale

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Apr 8, 2012, 11:30:13 AM4/8/12
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I guess a philosopher should probably pipe in here.

 

I work a fair bit on ethics and geoengineering. Most of what I've been doing has been oriented around getting a clearer sense of what problem geoengineering is supposedly a response to. There's a prevailing assumption, for instance, that we well understand the problem with climate change, but I think this is far from clear. Supposedly, the problem with climate change is that the climate will change, and presumably this will be a change for the worse. I don't disagree that the change will be for the worse, but that it will be worse simpliciter doesn’t strike me as the core problem. Many things in the world change for the worse, and only sometimes do we respond to them. The question of geoengineering, and the variety associated technologies, can help us get a grip on the nature of the climate change problem. So that’s one way in which geoengineering has interest philosophically: by shedding light on the problem that many of us are keen to address and helping us understand the nature of our obligations to address this problem.

 

Another way in which ethics and geoengineering are philosophically interesting is in a clinical sense: we need to ask what sorts of things we’re permitted or obligated to do; and what sorts of things we’re restricted from doing. Just as a bioethicist dissects the sundry questions associated with health, technology, and medicine, so too can ethicists do the same with geoengineering. There are many related questions about the permissibility of one technology over another, as clearly some technologies will demand more of some, or perhaps burden others, in ways that are unacceptably unfair.  

 

Beyond the forward-looking clinical ethical questions, there are also questions related to definition and the nature of geoengineering. For instance, I think the distinction between SRM and CDR is falsely concrete, and that instead we should distinguish according to whether geoengineering is an attempt to remediate (that is, to draw down our carbon and GHG contributions, as well as our bad land-use decisions, by way of cleaning up our messes) versus an attempt to steer (that is, to avoid anticipated bad consequences from our prior actions). To me, at least, this distinction helps us understand some relatively powerful intuitions that we may have, for instance, that air capture technologies and reforestation practices are nowhere near as worrisome as stratospheric injection technologies and ocean fertilization proposals.

 

As to Ken's initial inquiry, it's hard to say, generally, what philosophers are doing. It is true that in one respect there's nothing new under the sun, that all hitherto philosophy is just a series of footnotes to Plato, but what most of professional philosophers take themselves to be doing is gaining a bit more clarity and insight on current and ancient problems than otherwise might be gained simply by picking up the classic texts. In the case of geoengineering, there's a lot of work to be done that may help us get to a better place with a more intelligent discourse.

 

Here's some of my published work on the topic:

 

1.       “The World that Would Have Been: Moral Hazard Arguments against Geoengineering” Reflecting Sunlight: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management Ed. Christopher Preston. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. 2012. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf

 

2.       “Getting the Bad Out: Remediation Technologies and Respect for Others” The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics. Eds. Kabasenche, W.B., O'Rourke, M., and Slater, M. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf

 

3.       “Non-renewable Resources and the Inevitability of Outcomes,” The Monist, 94(1), July 2011. http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2011.28.pdf

 

4.       “Carbon Sequestration, Ocean Fertilization, and the Problem of Permissible Pollution” (with Lisa Dilling), Science, Technology, and Human Values. 36(2): 190-212. 2011. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

 

5.       “Remediation and Respect: Do Remediation Technologies Alter Our Responsibility?” (with Bill Grundy), Environmental Values. 18(4). 2009. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

 

6.       “You say 'solution', I say 'pollution': Ocean fertilization is a fishy solution to a whale of a problem,” Guest commentary, Science Progress, August 18, 2009. http://scienceprogress.org/2009/08/ocean-fertilization-ethics/

 

I have a few other pieces in various stages of progress as well. I’m happy to share.

 

Beyond this, there’s some really great stuff coming out now from a number of other sources. Christopher Preston has convened a volume on the Ethics of Solar Radiation Management, we’re publishing a series of essays later this summer in the journal Ethics, Policy, & Environment, and there is even more stuff forthcoming.

 

These bibliographies compiled by Preston should prove helpful:

 

http://www.umt.edu/ethics/resourcecenter/default.php

http://www.umt.edu/ethics/resourcecenter/bibliography/ethics.php

 

Enjoy!

 

Best,

Ben

 

 

Benjamin Hale

Assistant Professor

Philosophy and Environmental Studies

University of Colorado, Boulder

Tel: 303 735-3624; Fax: 303 735-1576

http://www.practicalreason.com

http://cruelmistress.wordpress.com

Ethics, Policy & Environment

Ken Caldeira

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Apr 8, 2012, 12:39:09 PM4/8/12
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So, would it be safe to say that the primary service that philosophers are trying to provide is to help us to use language precisely and to think more clearly about difficult issues?

Is the analogy then of the person needing to do a calculation, asking the mathematician for help, where there is no expectation of really generating significant new mathematics to solve the problem? Nevertheless, we might surprise ourselves and our plebeian problems might in fact induce innovation within the helping discipline.

---

Admittedly, I looked at your first paper only, which discussed 'moral hazard'. It does seem to me useful to examine what is meant by this term, and how people are using it differently in the geoengineering context.

It is good to know when we have a disagreement whether that disagreement is a difference in our understanding of the facts, a difference in our values, or whether it is a difference in how we are applying words. (And also if it is possible to have disagreements that somehow sit between these categories -- are there clear boundaries between matters language, values, and fact?)

Insofar as philosophers are able to help us disentangle differences in use of language from differences in value judgments and differences in our understanding of the facts, this is a useful enterprise.  More often than not, these things are muddied in discussion. It would be useful if everyone, when we have a disagreement, would make a greater effort to identify the source and nature of the disagreement.

=======================

On matters of language, I am with Humpty Dumpty. I am usually willing to defer to anyone's usage, if they can provide a reasonably clear definition explaining how they are using terms. On the other hand, I am very much with Hume in wanting to clearly distinguish between is and ought, while recognizing that much of language embodies both fact and value.

Think of the use of a term like 'enhances' that implicitly contains a value judgment -- if we assert that 'ocean fertilization increases carbon export' are we also asserting that 'ocean fertilization enhances carbon export'? Can I agree we the first assertion and disagree with the latter?  Sometimes we don't understand when we are making a factual statement and when we are implicitly presenting a value judgment.

========================

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you
can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master      that’s all.”


--Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking Glass, 1872

Ben Hale

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Apr 8, 2012, 2:13:35 PM4/8/12
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I think clarity is one of many objectives that a philosopher might have, much in the way that a scientist might aim to gain clarity on the forces in play in a physics question or an economic modeler might aim to gain clarity on the social forces at work in a question about values in exchange.

 

I don’t think these are “mere” language questions, as sometimes they are taken to be. If, for instance, I want to know why it is permissible in some circumstances to pull the plug on a loved one, but not permissible in other circumstances, I’m not asking a question about terminology. I’m asking a question about boundaries and constraints. I need to know the conditions under which it is reasonable and acceptable for me to proceed with my planned action.

 

So too for geoengineering. If I think that the reason we should geoengineer is because there will be disastrous consequences if we don’t, then I need to know not what those disastrous consequences will be, but whether those disastrous consequences are the sort of consequences that might warrant the wholesale suspension of other moral principles, such as state sovereignty, individual rights, and so on. These are real and challenging questions for which there are no easy answers… and these questions, notably, are neither scientific questions nor engineering questions. They cannot be answered by simple appeal to observation (as with the sciences) or by appeal to technical calculation (as with engineering). They must be reasoned out, just as we reason out many of our many other vexing social questions. That’s what we’re up to in philosophy.

 

Tis true, of course, that my moral hazard paper is primarily a terminological undertaking, so there’s some clarification going on… but the orientation there is mostly around getting a grip on the problem we face, and understanding also how easily we can bury the complicated ethical questions simply by slapping on a label and hiding them away.

 

Thanks for the feedback!

 

Best,

Ben

 

Benjamin Hale

Assistant Professor

Philosophy and Environmental Studies

University of Colorado, Boulder

Tel: 303 735-3624; Fax: 303 735-1576

http://www.practicalreason.com

http://cruelmistress.wordpress.com

Ethics, Policy & Environment

 

 

 

Oliver Morton

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Apr 8, 2012, 2:22:45 PM4/8/12
to Ken Caldeira, Ben Hale, geoengineering
Do philosophers have to be service providers -- can't they simply be doing philosophy on a topic they find interesting? And if they are service providers to whom are they providing their services (who is "us" in Ken's post). Society at large, or natural scientists involved in geoengineering research, or some other entity? 
--
O=C=O O=C=O O=C=O O=C=O O=C=O

Oliver Morton
Editor, Briefings
The Economist

O=C=O O=C=O O=C=O O=C=O O=C=O

Robert Tulip

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Apr 9, 2012, 3:27:22 AM4/9/12
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The ethics of geoengineering is possibly the biggest philosophical problem facing the world, sitting at the intersection between philosophy and a range of practical disciplines.  Crucial moral decisions on geoengineering will affect the immediate fate of our planet.
 
Geoengineering certainly does open new ethical issues, primarily around whether humans have a right and duty to consciously manage the global climate in an effort to control nature through science.  Ethical disquiet about geoengineering involves a belief that climate management crosses some threshold, although precisely what that threshold is seems more emotional than rational. The ethical questions blend into religious sentiments, with people seeing taboos about tampering with nature, somewhat like the debate on genetically modified organisms.  Critics invoke moral pieties about the place of humanity within creation, and about what it means for humans to exercise dominion over nature. Ethical views on modern ideas of progress turn partly on whether humans are considered part of nature or above it. 
 
The risk, however small, of a Permian scale catastrophe as a result of anthropogenic climate change, and the potential need for geoengineering to avert it, illustrates that geoengineering may in fact be the biggest ethical issue ever, opening the existential problem of human planetary survival.
 
Environmentalists expresses ethical concern about a perceived alliance between geoengineering and technological progress.  "Deep ecologists" consider that addressing climate change requires reduction in human energy use and environmental footprint, including through population reduction and shift away from economic growth as a social objective towards a culture of lower material consumption, driven by emission reduction through carbon taxes. "Live simply so that all may simply live" is one of the slogans. The green movement associates ethics with personal sacrifice, and sees geoengineering as undermining the assumption that using less energy is a desirable goal.  Geoengineering is perceived as a way to enable increased consumption and undermine ethical objectives of the environment movement. 
 
On the other hand, the development paradigm sees the reduction of poverty as the core ethical objective of the Millennium Development Goals, requiring economic growth to improve the quality of life of the poor.  It is unclear why growth advocates have not engaged more with geoengineering as a way to increase energy use and reduce poverty.
 
Taboos and misinformation around these topics result in a weak level of public debate.  For Example the Copenhagen Consensus argued in 2009 that research into geoengineering is the most cost-effective response to climate change.  Ethical issues perceived in this proposal are illustrated by the lack of support for the Copenhagen Consensus Center.
 
I have a Master of Arts Honours Degree for a philosophy thesis on ethics and ontology, and an interest in large scale ocean based algae production as a geoengineering method.  I work for the Australian Agency for International Development on its Mining for Development Initiative.  These comments are my personal views.
 
Robert Tulip.
 
 

John Nissen

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Apr 9, 2012, 12:28:48 AM4/9/12
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Hi Oliver,
 
I attended the Planet Under Pressure conference, for the session on geoengineering governance.  A cynic would regard most of the speakers as people who had found a nice subject for academic study, and were not particularly interested in whether geoengineering was actually required!  But let me move on from cynicism.
 
I take John Gorman's point that the problem we face is essentially an engineering problem, quoting the economist Robert Samuelson who said:
 
"The trouble with the global warming debate is that it has become a moral crusade when it's really an engineering problem. The inconvenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we're helpless."
 
As an engineer as well as a scientist, I am able see the Earth System as a piece of engineering, where the mechanism controlling stability (especially of temperature and the carbon cycle) has been damaged and requires repair.  Certain parts of the system are critically damaged and require repair immediately before the system collapses into a new state, inconducive to the continuation of civilisation as we know it.  In this situation, not to intervene would be suicidal, and therefore there is a moral imperative to act.
 
Now, I agree with Michael Hayes's argument that that any action to affect the Earth System, whether deliberate or inadvertent, should be considered geoengineering.  For me the question of morality of some particular geoengineering technique or measure, is whether it is helping to repair (or allow repair of) the Earth System or not.
 
May I now take an example of where a 'good/ethical measure' from one point of view is a 'bad/unethical measure' from another point of view.  This is sulphate aerosol in the troposphere.  This has been countering the global warming of greenhouse gases by up to 75% during the past century, until there was a determined effort to reduce sulphur 'pollution' in the 80s and 90s.  This effort continues with an effort to further reduce tropospheric sulphur by removing the sulphur from the 'bunker fuel' used by ships.  It has been estimated that ships have contributed a negative forcing (i.e. a global cooling) of up to 0.6 Watts/m-2.
 
So from one point of view - the pollution point of view, which prevails today - the removal of sulphur from bunker fuel is a good thing.  But if one considers how seriously damaged the Earth System has become, especially with the sea ice retreat in the Arctic, removal of sulphur is close to suicidal, and definitely bad/unethical.
 
Leaving sulphur in ship's fuel is not going to save the Arctic sea ice, but will definitely help.  If you agree with the argument that saving the sea ice is necessary to reduce the risk of methane feedback (i.e. necessary to defuse the methane time-bomb) then removing sulphur from ship's fuel is not sensible.
 
The case for SRM geoengineering to cool the Arctic is much clearer.  Without some rapid cooling action to save the Arctic sea ice, the Arctic warming will accelerate, methane feedback will almost inevitably gain traction, and we could be in for run-away global warming - definitely suicidal.
 
So SRM geoengineering has to be part of the solution of the engineering problem, in the case of the Arctic sea ice.  Not to geoengineer would be suicidal and therefore immoral. 
 
John
 
---
 

Mike MacCracken

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Apr 10, 2012, 6:36:09 PM4/10/12
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I’ve been off-line for most of this discussion, but let me offer a couple of comments regarding tropospheric sulfate. The major health and environmental impacts of sulfate and the SO2 emissions been that, because the SO2 is a by product of coal combustion, the emission of SO2 and deposition of sulfate have been generally in the most populated regions of the world (North Atlantic basin through much of the 20th century, and now, presumably, mainly eastern and southern Asia). In a geoengineering application, limited scientific results suggest that it would be much more effective to be creating the sulfate layer out over the dark ocean, in relatively clean areas to enhance cloud brightening, and in low latitudes to get maximum solar exposure—and it would make no sense to put out all the other byproducts of coal combustion that may actually be the cause of the worst health impacts. Thus, assuming one could technically emit the SO2 over remote Pacific and Indian ocean areas in ways that would create larger areas with lower amounts of sulfate to get a similar or even greater cooling effect, the ethical (and governance) issues concern how might one make the tradeoffs of perhaps significantly reduced climate impacts for billions, but, quite possibly, a different mix of impacts (some less, some more) for millions.

My suggestions to use sulfate in the Arctic troposphere during the Arctic sunlit season only raise similar issues—though in this case those in the Arctic presumably get very significant benefits in that one would be trying to preserve the present or slightly cooler climate while experiencing some impacts (for several reasons quite possibly lower health impacts than caused by past SO2 emissions) with key potential benefits of slowing or countering permafrost thawing (so reducing global warming) and ice sheet mass loss (so reducing sea level rise) with likely some impacts on precipitation systems that are good for some and detrimental to others, etc. Again, very challenging governance and ethical aspects (not to mention public education challenges to have an informed discussion).

And then there is the potential that some other suitable substance could be generated (e.g., sea salt CCN) that would presumably limit the health impacts (although this may well not be the dominant impact to be considered, there are economic considerations, and lots more). And there may be particular operational considerations that can minimize some types of impacts, etc.

With so much (and more) to be considered, it seems to me there is a very significant need to be augmenting scientific thinking about all of this—indeed, the engineering and scientific aspects might well be the least challenging aspects.

Mike MacCracken
1.       “The World that Would Have Been: Moral Hazard Arguments against Geoengineering” Reflecting Sunlight: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management Ed. Christopher Preston. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. 2012. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf>  

 

2.       “Getting the Bad Out: Remediation Technologies and Respect for Others” The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics. Eds. Kabasenche, W.B., O'Rourke, M., and Slater, M. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf>  


 

3.       “Non-renewable Resources and the Inevitability of Outcomes,” The Monist, 94(1), July 2011. http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2011.28.pdf

 

4.       “Carbon Sequestration, Ocean Fertilization, and the Problem of Permissible Pollution” (with Lisa Dilling), Science, Technology, and Human Values. 36(2): 190-212. 2011. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

 

5.       “Remediation and Respect: Do Remediation Technologies Alter Our Responsibility?” (with Bill Grundy), Environmental Values. 18(4). 2009. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

 

6.       “You say 'solution', I say 'pollution': Ocean fertilization is a fishy solution to a whale of a problem,” Guest commentary, Science Progress, August 18, 2009. http://scienceprogress.org/2009/08/ocean-fertilization-ethics/

 

I have a few other pieces in various stages of progress as well. I’m happy to share.

 

Beyond this, there’s some really great stuff coming out now from a number of other sources. Christopher Preston has convened a volume on the Ethics of Solar Radiation Management, we’re publishing a series of essays later this summer in the journal Ethics, Policy, & Environment, and there is even more stuff forthcoming.

 

These bibliographies compiled by Preston should prove helpful:

 

http://www.umt.edu/ethics/resourcecenter/default.php

http://www.umt.edu/ethics/resourcecenter/bibliography/ethics.php

 

Enjoy!

 

Best,

Ben

 

 

Benjamin Hale

Assistant Professor

Philosophy and Environmental Studies

University of Colorado, Boulder

Tel: 303 735-3624 <tel:303%20735-3624> ; Fax: 303 735-1576 <tel:303%20735-1576>

http://www.practicalreason.com

http://cruelmistress.wordpress.com

Ethics, Policy & Environment

 

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: geoengi...@googlegroups.com [mailto:geoengi...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Ken Caldeira
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2012 6:04 AM
To: omeco...@gmail.com
Cc: geoengineering
Subject: Re: [geo] Re: Ethics of Geoengineering (anything new?)

 

I think I simply use the word 'philosophy' different than most modern philosophers.

 

Just as I think of mathematicians developing new mathematical theory while the rest of us apply existing theory to do calculations aimed at solving real world pproblems, I thought philosophers were developing new general theory and the rest of were applying this theory in our own moral calculations.

 

It seems to me that alot of what is beig called 'philosphy' is people trying to do moral calculations.

 

Often math progresses because a calculational need arises for which there is no existig relevant mathematical theory and this spurs the mathematicians to develop new theory  

 

It seems to me that the ethics of decision making when decisions affect others not involved in the decision making is a problem as old as the hills.

 

I just don't see how this itch is going to need a scratch of a different kind.  Aren't existig types of scratches are sufficient? I will be suprised if geoengineering will really be an irritant that can spur  philosophical innovation. Not impossible, but I am dubious.

 

In contrast, I do see how  neuroscience can perhaps act a an tch that promotes new types if philosophical scratches.

 

Ken Caldeira


 

Sent from a limited-typing keyboard

 

On Apr 8, 2012, at 0:13, O Morton <omeco...@gmail.com <mailto:omeco...@gmail.com> > wrote:

 

> I agree with Ninad; philosophy feeds on novelty in its continual

> reassessments; it doesn't assimilate it in a serial model of progress.

> Many philosophical problems are not solved (though they may be moved

> outside the realm of philosophy by other developments), and few are

> novel. There's a relevant quotation from Wittgenstein:

>

> “Philosophy has made no progress? If somebody scratches where it

> itches, does that count as progress? If not, does that mean it wasn’t

> an authentic scratch? Not an authentic itch? Couldn’t this response to

> the stimulus go on for quite a long time until a remedy for itching is

> found?”

>

> Geoengineering may be a new itch for philosophy to scratch, and

> scratching is not an inappropriate response to itches.

>

> And again as Ninad said, changes in the way science views the world

> may change the way we philosophise. Parfitt's notion of

> intergeneratonal justice (which is clearly relevant to geoengineering

> and climate issues) clearly rests on seeing what makes a person

> through a particular biological lens (see

Andrew Lockley

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Apr 10, 2012, 9:23:48 PM4/10/12
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John Shepherd cautioned me that there's a risk that Arctic geoengineering could move the ITCZ, and hence the monsoon.

If we're even considering doing this at any point in the next couple of decades, we should IMO be pushing modelling studies right away. The consequences of inadvertently affecting the monsoon are very serious indeed, and we need to accurately model the teleconnections before making actionable proposals.

My understanding is that this needs a high res GCM model to resolve this effect.  I hope a group can run this.

A

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Mike MacCracken

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Apr 10, 2012, 9:40:10 PM4/10/12
to Andrew Lockley, Geoengineering
Hi Andrew—We have already done some exploratory runs relating to this issue and I (with co-authors) hope to have paper finished up soon on this.

Best, Mike
Tel: 303 735-3624 <tel:303%20735-3624>  <tel:303%20735-3624> ; Fax: 303 735-1576 <tel:303%20735-1576>  <tel:303%20735-1576>

http://www.practicalreason.com

http://cruelmistress.wordpress.com

Ethics, Policy & Environment

 

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: geoengi...@googlegroups.com <http://geoengi...@googlegroups.com>  [mailto:geoengi...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Ken Caldeira
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2012 6:04 AM
To: omeco...@gmail.com <http://omeco...@gmail.com>
Cc: geoengineering
Subject: Re: [geo] Re: Ethics of Geoengineering (anything new?)

 

I think I simply use the word 'philosophy' different than most modern philosophers.

 

Just as I think of mathematicians developing new mathematical theory while the rest of us apply existing theory to do calculations aimed at solving real world pproblems, I thought philosophers were developing new general theory and the rest of were applying this theory in our own moral calculations.

 

It seems to me that alot of what is beig called 'philosphy' is people trying to do moral calculations.

 

Often math progresses because a calculational need arises for which there is no existig relevant mathematical theory and this spurs the mathematicians to develop new theory  

 

It seems to me that the ethics of decision making when decisions affect others not involved in the decision making is a problem as old as the hills.

 

I just don't see how this itch is going to need a scratch of a different kind.  Aren't existig types of scratches are sufficient? I will be suprised if geoengineering will really be an irritant that can spur  philosophical innovation. Not impossible, but I am dubious.

 

In contrast, I do see how  neuroscience can perhaps act a an tch that promotes new types if philosophical scratches.

 

Ken Caldeira

Ken Caldeira

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Apr 10, 2012, 10:50:15 PM4/10/12
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Moving itcz could be good. Bring more rain to the Sahel. 

Ken Caldeira

Sent from a limited-typing keyboard
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Stephen Salter

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Apr 11, 2012, 6:39:15 AM4/11/12
to geoengi...@googlegroups.com
Andrew

If geoengineering in the Arctic to restore previous Arctic temperatures is going to mess up monsoons what does John Shepherd say will happen to monsoons with dramatically increased Arctic temperatures?

Stephen
Emeritus Professor of Engineering Design
Institute for Energy Systems
School of Engineering
Mayfield Road
University of Edinburgh EH9  3JL
Scotland
Tel +44 131 650 5704
Mobile 07795 203 195
www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs

On 11/04/2012 02:23, Andrew Lockley wrote:

John Shepherd cautioned me that there's a risk that Arctic geoengineering could move the ITCZ, and hence the monsoon.

If we're even considering doing this at any point in the next couple of decades, we should IMO be pushing modelling studies right away. The consequences of inadvertently affecting the monsoon are very serious indeed, and we need to accurately model the teleconnections before making actionable proposals.

My understanding is that this needs a high res GCM model to resolve this effect.� I hope a group can run this.

A

On Apr 10, 2012 11:36 PM, "Mike MacCracken" <mmac...@comcast.net> wrote:
I�ve been off-line for most of this discussion, but let me offer a couple of comments regarding tropospheric sulfate. The major health and environmental impacts of sulfate and the SO2 emissions been that, because the SO2 is a by product of coal combustion, the emission of SO2 and deposition of sulfate have been generally in the most populated regions of the world (North Atlantic basin through much of the 20th century, and now, presumably, mainly eastern and southern Asia). In a geoengineering application, limited scientific results suggest that it would be much more effective to be creating the sulfate layer out over the dark ocean, in relatively clean areas to enhance cloud brightening, and in low latitudes to get maximum solar exposure�and it would make no sense to put out all the other byproducts of coal combustion that may actually be the cause of the worst health impacts. Thus, assuming one could technically emit the SO2 over remote Pacific and Indian ocean areas in ways that would create larger areas with lower amounts of sulfate to get a similar or even greater cooling effect, the ethical (and governance) issues concern how might one make the tradeoffs of perhaps significantly reduced climate impacts for billions, but, quite possibly, a different mix of impacts (some less, some more) for millions.

My suggestions to use sulfate in the Arctic troposphere during the Arctic sunlit season only raise similar issues�though in this case those in the Arctic presumably get very significant benefits in that one would be trying to preserve the present or slightly cooler climate while experiencing some impacts (for several reasons quite possibly lower health impacts than caused by past SO2 emissions) with key potential benefits of slowing or countering permafrost thawing (so reducing global warming) and ice sheet mass loss (so reducing sea level rise) with likely some impacts on precipitation systems that are good for some and detrimental to others, etc. Again, very challenging governance and ethical aspects (not to mention public education challenges to have an informed discussion).


And then there is the potential that some other suitable substance could be generated (e.g., sea salt CCN) that would presumably limit the health impacts (although this may well not be the dominant impact to be considered, there are economic considerations, and lots more). And there may be particular operational considerations that can minimize some types of impacts, etc.

With so much (and more) to be considered, it seems to me there is a very significant need to be augmenting scientific thinking about all of this�indeed, the engineering and scientific aspects might well be the least challenging aspects.


Mike MacCracken




On 4/9/12 12:28 AM, "John Nissen" <johnnis...@gmail.com> wrote:

�
Hi Oliver,
�
I attended the Planet Under Pressure conference, for the session on geoengineering governance.� A cynic would regard most of the speakers as people who had found a nice subject for academic study, and were not particularly interested in whether geoengineering was actually required!� But let me move on from cynicism.
�
I take John Gorman's point that the problem we face is�essentially an engineering problem, quoting the economist Robert Samuelson who said:
�

"The trouble with the global warming debate is that it has become a moral crusade when it's really an engineering problem. The inconvenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we're helpless."
�
As an engineer as well as a scientist, I am able see the Earth System as a piece of engineering, where the mechanism controlling stability (especially of temperature and the carbon cycle) has been damaged and requires repair.� Certain parts of the system are critically damaged and require repair immediately before the system collapses into a new state, inconducive to the continuation of civilisation as we know it.� In this situation, not to intervene would be suicidal, and therefore there is a moral imperative to act.
�
Now, I agree with�Michael Hayes's argument that that any action to affect the Earth System, whether deliberate or inadvertent, should be considered geoengineering.� For me the question of morality of some particular geoengineering technique or measure, is whether it is helping to repair (or allow repair of)�the Earth System or not.
�
May I now take an example of where a 'good/ethical measure' from one point of view is a 'bad/unethical measure' from another point of view.� This is sulphate aerosol in the troposphere.� This has been countering the global warming of greenhouse gases by up to 75% during the past century, until there was a determined effort to reduce sulphur 'pollution' in the 80s and 90s.� This effort continues with an effort to further reduce tropospheric sulphur by removing the sulphur from the 'bunker fuel' used by ships.� It has been estimated that ships have contributed a negative forcing (i.e. a global cooling) of up to 0.6 Watts/m-2.
�
So from one point of�view - the pollution point of view, which prevails today -�the removal of sulphur from bunker fuel is a good thing.� But if one considers how seriously damaged the Earth System has become, especially with the sea ice retreat in the Arctic, removal of sulphur is close to suicidal, and definitely bad/unethical.
�
Leaving�sulphur in�ship's fuel is not going to save the Arctic sea ice, but will definitely help.� If you agree with the argument that saving the sea ice is necessary to reduce the risk of methane feedback (i.e. necessary to defuse the methane time-bomb) then removing sulphur from ship's fuel is not sensible.
�
The case for SRM geoengineering to cool the Arctic is much clearer.� Without some rapid cooling action to save the Arctic sea ice, the Arctic warming will accelerate, methane feedback will almost inevitably gain traction, and we could be in for run-away global warming - definitely suicidal.
�
So SRM geoengineering has to be part of the solution of the engineering problem, in the case of the Arctic sea ice.� Not to geoengineer would be suicidal and therefore immoral.�
�
John
�
---
�

On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 7:22 PM, Oliver Morton <Oliver...@economist.com> wrote:
Do philosophers have to be service providers -- can't they simply be doing philosophy on a topic they find interesting? And if they are service providers to whom are they providing their services (who is "us" in Ken's post). Society at large, or natural scientists involved in geoengineering research, or some other entity?�



On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM, Ken Caldeira <kcal...@carnegie.stanford.edu> wrote:
So, would it be safe to say that the primary service that philosophers are trying to provide is to help us to use language precisely and to think more clearly about difficult issues?

Is the analogy then of the person needing to do a calculation, asking the mathematician for help, where there is no expectation of really generating significant new mathematics to solve the problem? Nevertheless, we might surprise ourselves and our plebeian problems might in fact induce innovation within the helping discipline.

---

Admittedly, I looked at your first paper only, which discussed 'moral hazard'. It does seem to me useful to examine what is meant by this term, and how people are using it differently in the geoengineering context.

It is good to know when we have a disagreement whether that disagreement is a difference in our understanding of the facts, a difference in our values, or whether it is a difference in how we are applying words. (And also if it is possible to have disagreements that somehow sit between these categories -- are there clear boundaries between matters language, values, and fact?)

Insofar as philosophers are able to help us disentangle differences in use of language from differences in value judgments and differences in our understanding of the facts, this is a useful enterprise.� More often than not, these things are muddied in discussion. It would be useful if everyone, when we have a disagreement, would make a greater effort to identify the source and nature of the disagreement.

=======================

On matters of language, �I am with Humpty Dumpty. I am usually willing to defer to anyone's usage, if they can provide a reasonably clear definition explaining how they are using terms. On the other hand, I am very much with Hume in wanting to clearly distinguish between is and ought, while recognizing that much of language embodies both fact and value.

Think of the use of a term like 'enhances' that implicitly contains a value judgment -- if we assert that 'ocean fertilization increases carbon export' are we also asserting that 'ocean fertilization enhances carbon export'? Can I agree we the first assertion and disagree with the latter?� Sometimes we don't understand when we are making a factual statement and when we are implicitly presenting a value judgment.

========================

�When I use a word,� Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, �it means just what I choose it to mean�neither more nor less.�
�The question is,� said Alice, �whether you can make words mean so many different things.�
�The question is,� said Humpty Dumpty, �which is to be master������that�s all.�

--Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking Glass, 1872




On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 8:30 AM, Ben Hale <bh...@colorado.edu> wrote:
I guess a philosopher should probably pipe in here.

�

I work a fair bit on ethics and geoengineering. Most of what I've been doing has been oriented around getting a clearer sense of what problem geoengineering is supposedly a response to. There's a prevailing assumption, for instance, that we well understand the problem with climate change, but I think this is far from clear. Supposedly, the problem with climate change is that the climate will change, and presumably this will be a change for the worse. I don't disagree that the change will be for the worse, but that it will be worse simpliciter doesn�t strike me as the core problem. Many things in the world change for the worse, and only sometimes do we respond to them. The question of geoengineering, and the variety associated technologies, can help us get a grip on the nature of the climate change problem. So that�s one way in which geoengineering has interest philosophically: by shedding light on the problem that many of us are keen to address and helping us understand the nature of our obligations to address this problem.

�

Another way in which ethics and geoengineering are philosophically interesting is in a clinical sense: we need to ask what sorts of things we�re permitted or obligated to do; and what sorts of things we�re restricted from doing. Just as a bioethicist dissects the sundry questions associated with health, technology, and medicine, so too can ethicists do the same with geoengineering. There are many related questions about the permissibility of one technology over another, as clearly some technologies will demand more of some, or perhaps burden others, in ways that are unacceptably unfair. �

�


Beyond the forward-looking clinical ethical questions, there are also questions related to definition and the nature of geoengineering. For instance, I think the distinction between SRM and CDR is falsely concrete, and that instead we should distinguish according to whether geoengineering is an attempt to remediate (that is, to draw down our carbon and GHG contributions, as well as our bad land-use decisions, by way of cleaning up our messes) versus an attempt to steer (that is, to avoid anticipated bad consequences from our prior actions). To me, at least, this distinction helps us understand some relatively powerful intuitions that we may have, for instance, that air capture technologies and reforestation practices are nowhere near as worrisome as stratospheric injection technologies and ocean fertilization proposals.

�


As to Ken's initial inquiry, it's hard to say, generally, what philosophers are doing. It is true that in one respect there's nothing new under the sun, that all hitherto philosophy is just a series of footnotes to Plato, but what most of professional philosophers take themselves to be doing is gaining a bit more clarity and insight on current and ancient problems than otherwise might be gained simply by picking up the classic texts. In the case of geoengineering, there's a lot of work to be done that may help us get to a better place with a more intelligent discourse.

�


Here's some of my published work on the topic:

�

1.������ �The World that Would Have Been: Moral Hazard Arguments against Geoengineering� Reflecting Sunlight: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management Ed. Christopher Preston. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. 2012. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf> �

�

2.������ �Getting the Bad Out: Remediation Technologies and Respect for Others� The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics. Eds. Kabasenche, W.B., O'Rourke, M., and Slater, M. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf> �

�

3.������ �Non-renewable Resources and the Inevitability of Outcomes,� The Monist, 94(1), July 2011. http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2011.28.pdf

�

4.������ �Carbon Sequestration, Ocean Fertilization, and the Problem of Permissible Pollution� (with Lisa Dilling), Science, Technology, and Human Values. 36(2): 190-212. 2011. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

�

5.������ �Remediation and Respect: Do Remediation Technologies Alter Our Responsibility?� (with Bill Grundy), Environmental Values. 18(4). 2009. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

�

6.������ �You say 'solution', I say 'pollution': Ocean fertilization is a fishy solution to a whale of a problem,� Guest commentary, Science Progress, August 18, 2009. http://scienceprogress.org/2009/08/ocean-fertilization-ethics/

�

I have a few other pieces in various stages of progress as well. I�m happy to share.

�

Beyond this, there�s some really great stuff coming out now from a number of other sources. Christopher Preston has convened a volume on the Ethics of Solar Radiation Management, we�re publishing a series of essays later this summer in the journal Ethics, Policy, & Environment, and there is even more stuff forthcoming.

�


These bibliographies compiled by Preston should prove helpful:



Benjamin Hale

Assistant Professor

Philosophy and Environmental Studies

University of Colorado, Boulder

Tel: 303 735-3624 <tel:303%20735-3624> ; Fax: 303 735-1576 <tel:303%20735-1576>

http://www.practicalreason.com

http://cruelmistress.wordpress.com

Ethics, Policy & Environment

�

�

�

�


-----Original Message-----
From: geoengi...@googlegroups.com [mailto:geoengi...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Ken Caldeira
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2012 6:04 AM
To: omeco...@gmail.com
Cc: geoengineering
Subject: Re: [geo] Re: Ethics of Geoengineering (anything new?)

�


I think I simply use the word 'philosophy' different than most modern philosophers.

�


Just as I think of mathematicians developing new mathematical theory while the rest of us apply existing theory to do calculations aimed at solving real world pproblems, I thought philosophers were developing new general theory and the rest of were applying this theory in our own moral calculations.

�


It seems to me that alot of what is beig called 'philosphy' is people trying to do moral calculations.

�

Often math progresses because a calculational need arises for which there is no existig relevant mathematical theory and this spurs the mathematicians to develop new theory��

�


It seems to me that the ethics of decision making when decisions affect others not involved in the decision making is a problem as old as the hills.

�

I just don't see how this itch is going to need a scratch of a different kind.� Aren't existig types of scratches are sufficient? I will be suprised if geoengineering will really be an irritant that can spur� philosophical innovation. Not impossible, but I am dubious.

�

In contrast, I do see how� neuroscience can perhaps act a an tch that promotes new types if philosophical scratches.

�
�


Sent from a limited-typing keyboard

�


On Apr 8, 2012, at 0:13, O Morton <omeco...@gmail.com <mailto:omeco...@gmail.com> > wrote:

�


> I agree with Ninad; philosophy feeds on novelty in its continual

> reassessments; it doesn't assimilate it in a serial model of progress.

> Many philosophical problems are not solved (though they may be moved

> outside the realm of philosophy by other developments), and few are

> novel. There's a relevant quotation from Wittgenstein:

>

> �Philosophy has made no progress? If somebody scratches where it

> itches, does that count as progress? If not, does that mean it wasn�t

> an authentic scratch? Not an authentic itch? Couldn�t this response to

> the stimulus go on for quite a long time until a remedy for itching is

> found?�
>> read more �


>

> --

> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "geoengineering" group.

> To post to this group, send email to geoengi...@googlegroups.com <mailto:geoengi...@googlegroups.com> .

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Andrew Lockley

unread,
Apr 11, 2012, 7:21:52 AM4/11/12
to s.sa...@ed.ac.uk, geoengi...@googlegroups.com

It's the imbalance of polar temperatures which is a cause for concern - a geoengineered arctic on its own. The result is a potential geographic shift of the ITCZ which could have dramatic effects on regional vegetation.

If we are to engineer only the arctic we need to be sure this won't mess up other parts of the climate system.

I hope Mike's model run will involve a range of forcings up to very large interventions, to detect any potential tipping points.

Putting the output through a vegetation model will hopefully give us some really useful info.

A

On Apr 11, 2012 11:38 AM, "Stephen Salter" <S.Sa...@ed.ac.uk> wrote:
Andrew

If geoengineering in the Arctic to restore previous Arctic temperatures is going to mess up monsoons what does John Shepherd say will happen to monsoons with dramatically increased Arctic temperatures?

Stephen
Emeritus Professor of Engineering Design
Institute for Energy Systems
School of Engineering
Mayfield Road
University of Edinburgh EH9  3JL
Scotland
Tel +44 131 650 5704
Mobile 07795 203 195
www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs

On 11/04/2012 02:23, Andrew Lockley wrote:

John Shepherd cautioned me that there's a risk that Arctic geoengineering could move the ITCZ, and hence the monsoon.

If we're even considering doing this at any point in the next couple of decades, we should IMO be pushing modelling studies right away. The consequences of inadvertently affecting the monsoon are very serious indeed, and we need to accurately model the teleconnections before making actionable proposals.

My understanding is that this needs a high res GCM model to resolve this effect.  I hope a group can run this.

A

On Apr 10, 2012 11:36 PM, "Mike MacCracken" <mmac...@comcast.net> wrote:
I’ve been off-line for most of this discussion, but let me offer a couple of comments regarding tropospheric sulfate. The major health and environmental impacts of sulfate and the SO2 emissions been that, because the SO2 is a by product of coal combustion, the emission of SO2 and deposition of sulfate have been generally in the most populated regions of the world (North Atlantic basin through much of the 20th century, and now, presumably, mainly eastern and southern Asia). In a geoengineering application, limited scientific results suggest that it would be much more effective to be creating the sulfate layer out over the dark ocean, in relatively clean areas to enhance cloud brightening, and in low latitudes to get maximum solar exposure—and it would make no sense to put out all the other byproducts of coal combustion that may actually be the cause of the worst health impacts. Thus, assuming one could technically emit the SO2 over remote Pacific and Indian ocean areas in ways that would create larger areas with lower amounts of sulfate to get a similar or even greater cooling effect, the ethical (and governance) issues concern how might one make the tradeoffs of perhaps significantly reduced climate impacts for billions, but, quite possibly, a different mix of impacts (some less, some more) for millions.

My suggestions to use sulfate in the Arctic troposphere during the Arctic sunlit season only raise similar issues—though in this case those in the Arctic presumably get very significant benefits in that one would be trying to preserve the present or slightly cooler climate while experiencing some impacts (for several reasons quite possibly lower health impacts than caused by past SO2 emissions) with key potential benefits of slowing or countering permafrost thawing (so reducing global warming) and ice sheet mass loss (so reducing sea level rise) with likely some impacts on precipitation systems that are good for some and detrimental to others, etc. Again, very challenging governance and ethical aspects (not to mention public education challenges to have an informed discussion).


And then there is the potential that some other suitable substance could be generated (e.g., sea salt CCN) that would presumably limit the health impacts (although this may well not be the dominant impact to be considered, there are economic considerations, and lots more). And there may be particular operational considerations that can minimize some types of impacts, etc.

With so much (and more) to be considered, it seems to me there is a very significant need to be augmenting scientific thinking about all of this—indeed, the engineering and scientific aspects might well be the least challenging aspects.


Mike MacCracken




On 4/9/12 12:28 AM, "John Nissen" <johnnis...@gmail.com> wrote:

 
Hi Oliver,
 
I attended the Planet Under Pressure conference, for the session on geoengineering governance.  A cynic would regard most of the speakers as people who had found a nice subject for academic study, and were not particularly interested in whether geoengineering was actually required!  But let me move on from cynicism.

 
I take John Gorman's point that the problem we face is essentially an engineering problem, quoting the economist Robert Samuelson who said:
 
"The trouble with the global warming debate is that it has become a moral crusade when it's really an engineering problem. The inconvenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we're helpless."
 
As an engineer as well as a scientist, I am able see the Earth System as a piece of engineering, where the mechanism controlling stability (especially of temperature and the carbon cycle) has been damaged and requires repair.  Certain parts of the system are critically damaged and require repair immediately before the system collapses into a new state, inconducive to the continuation of civilisation as we know it.  In this situation, not to intervene would be suicidal, and therefore there is a moral imperative to act.
 
Now, I agree with Michael Hayes's argument that that any action to affect the Earth System, whether deliberate or inadvertent, should be considered geoengineering.  For me the question of morality of some particular geoengineering technique or measure, is whether it is helping to repair (or allow repair of) the Earth System or not.
 
May I now take an example of where a 'good/ethical measure' from one point of view is a 'bad/unethical measure' from another point of view.  This is sulphate aerosol in the troposphere.  This has been countering the global warming of greenhouse gases by up to 75% during the past century, until there was a determined effort to reduce sulphur 'pollution' in the 80s and 90s.  This effort continues with an effort to further reduce tropospheric sulphur by removing the sulphur from the 'bunker fuel' used by ships.  It has been estimated that ships have contributed a negative forcing (i.e. a global cooling) of up to 0.6 Watts/m-2.
 
So from one point of view - the pollution point of view, which prevails today - the removal of sulphur from bunker fuel is a good thing.  But if one considers how seriously damaged the Earth System has become, especially with the sea ice retreat in the Arctic, removal of sulphur is close to suicidal, and definitely bad/unethical.
 
Leaving sulphur in ship's fuel is not going to save the Arctic sea ice, but will definitely help.  If you agree with the argument that saving the sea ice is necessary to reduce the risk of methane feedback (i.e. necessary to defuse the methane time-bomb) then removing sulphur from ship's fuel is not sensible.
 
The case for SRM geoengineering to cool the Arctic is much clearer.  Without some rapid cooling action to save the Arctic sea ice, the Arctic warming will accelerate, methane feedback will almost inevitably gain traction, and we could be in for run-away global warming - definitely suicidal.
 
So SRM geoengineering has to be part of the solution of the engineering problem, in the case of the Arctic sea ice.  Not to geoengineer would be suicidal and therefore immoral. 
 
John
 
---

 
On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 7:22 PM, Oliver Morton <Oliver...@economist.com> wrote:
Do philosophers have to be service providers -- can't they simply be doing philosophy on a topic they find interesting? And if they are service providers to whom are they providing their services (who is "us" in Ken's post). Society at large, or natural scientists involved in geoengineering research, or some other entity? 


On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM, Ken Caldeira <kcal...@carnegie.stanford.edu> wrote:
So, would it be safe to say that the primary service that philosophers are trying to provide is to help us to use language precisely and to think more clearly about difficult issues?

Is the analogy then of the person needing to do a calculation, asking the mathematician for help, where there is no expectation of really generating significant new mathematics to solve the problem? Nevertheless, we might surprise ourselves and our plebeian problems might in fact induce innovation within the helping discipline.

---

Admittedly, I looked at your first paper only, which discussed 'moral hazard'. It does seem to me useful to examine what is meant by this term, and how people are using it differently in the geoengineering context.

It is good to know when we have a disagreement whether that disagreement is a difference in our understanding of the facts, a difference in our values, or whether it is a difference in how we are applying words. (And also if it is possible to have disagreements that somehow sit between these categories -- are there clear boundaries between matters language, values, and fact?)

Insofar as philosophers are able to help us disentangle differences in use of language from differences in value judgments and differences in our understanding of the facts, this is a useful enterprise.  More often than not, these things are muddied in discussion. It would be useful if everyone, when we have a disagreement, would make a greater effort to identify the source and nature of the disagreement.

=======================

On matters of language,  I am with Humpty Dumpty. I am usually willing to defer to anyone's usage, if they can provide a reasonably clear definition explaining how they are using terms. On the other hand, I am very much with Hume in wanting to clearly distinguish between is and ought, while recognizing that much of language embodies both fact and value.

Think of the use of a term like 'enhances' that implicitly contains a value judgment -- if we assert that 'ocean fertilization increases carbon export' are we also asserting that 'ocean fertilization enhances carbon export'? Can I agree we the first assertion and disagree with the latter?  Sometimes we don't understand when we are making a factual statement and when we are implicitly presenting a value judgment.

========================

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master      that’s all.”

--Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking Glass, 1872




On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 8:30 AM, Ben Hale <bh...@colorado.edu> wrote:
I guess a philosopher should probably pipe in here.

 

I work a fair bit on ethics and geoengineering. Most of what I've been doing has been oriented around getting a clearer sense of what problem geoengineering is supposedly a response to. There's a prevailing assumption, for instance, that we well understand the problem with climate change, but I think this is far from clear. Supposedly, the problem with climate change is that the climate will change, and presumably this will be a change for the worse. I don't disagree that the change will be for the worse, but that it will be worse simpliciter doesn’t strike me as the core problem. Many things in the world change for the worse, and only sometimes do we respond to them. The question of geoengineering, and the variety associated technologies, can help us get a grip on the nature of the climate change problem. So that’s one way in which geoengineering has interest philosophically: by shedding light on the problem that many of us are keen to address and helping us understand the nature of our obligations to address this problem.

 

Another way in which ethics and geoengineering are philosophically interesting is in a clinical sense: we need to ask what sorts of things we’re permitted or obligated to do; and what sorts of things we’re restricted from doing. Just as a bioethicist dissects the sundry questions associated with health, technology, and medicine, so too can ethicists do the same with geoengineering. There are many related questions about the permissibility of one technology over another, as clearly some technologies will demand more of some, or perhaps burden others, in ways that are unacceptably unfair.  


 

Beyond the forward-looking clinical ethical questions, there are also questions related to definition and the nature of geoengineering. For instance, I think the distinction between SRM and CDR is falsely concrete, and that instead we should distinguish according to whether geoengineering is an attempt to remediate (that is, to draw down our carbon and GHG contributions, as well as our bad land-use decisions, by way of cleaning up our messes) versus an attempt to steer (that is, to avoid anticipated bad consequences from our prior actions). To me, at least, this distinction helps us understand some relatively powerful intuitions that we may have, for instance, that air capture technologies and reforestation practices are nowhere near as worrisome as stratospheric injection technologies and ocean fertilization proposals.

 

As to Ken's initial inquiry, it's hard to say, generally, what philosophers are doing. It is true that in one respect there's nothing new under the sun, that all hitherto philosophy is just a series of footnotes to Plato, but what most of professional philosophers take themselves to be doing is gaining a bit more clarity and insight on current and ancient problems than otherwise might be gained simply by picking up the classic texts. In the case of geoengineering, there's a lot of work to be done that may help us get to a better place with a more intelligent discourse.

 

Here's some of my published work on the topic:

 

1.       “The World that Would Have Been: Moral Hazard Arguments against Geoengineering” Reflecting Sunlight: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management Ed. Christopher Preston. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. 2012. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf>  

 

2.       “Getting the Bad Out: Remediation Technologies and Respect for Others” The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics. Eds. Kabasenche, W.B., O'Rourke, M., and Slater, M. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf>  

 

3.       “Non-renewable Resources and the Inevitability of Outcomes,” The Monist, 94(1), July 2011. http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2011.28.pdf

 

4.       “Carbon Sequestration, Ocean Fertilization, and the Problem of Permissible Pollution” (with Lisa Dilling), Science, Technology, and Human Values. 36(2): 190-212. 2011. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

 

5.       “Remediation and Respect: Do Remediation Technologies Alter Our Responsibility?” (with Bill Grundy), Environmental Values. 18(4). 2009. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

 

6.       “You say 'solution', I say 'pollution': Ocean fertilization is a fishy solution to a whale of a problem,” Guest commentary, Science Progress, August 18, 2009. http://scienceprogress.org/2009/08/ocean-fertilization-ethics/

 

I have a few other pieces in various stages of progress as well. I’m happy to share.

 

Beyond this, there’s some really great stuff coming out now from a number of other sources. Christopher Preston has convened a volume on the Ethics of Solar Radiation Management, we’re publishing a series of essays later this summer in the journal Ethics, Policy, & Environment, and there is even more stuff forthcoming.


 

These bibliographies compiled by Preston should prove helpful:

 

Benjamin Hale

Assistant Professor

Philosophy and Environmental Studies

University of Colorado, Boulder

Tel: 303 735-3624 <tel:303%20735-3624> ; Fax: 303 735-1576 <tel:303%20735-1576>

http://www.practicalreason.com

http://cruelmistress.wordpress.com

Ethics, Policy & Environment

 

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: geoengi...@googlegroups.com [mailto:geoengi...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Ken Caldeira
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2012 6:04 AM
To: omeco...@gmail.com
Cc: geoengineering
Subject: Re: [geo] Re: Ethics of Geoengineering (anything new?)

 

I think I simply use the word 'philosophy' different than most modern philosophers.

 

Just as I think of mathematicians developing new mathematical theory while the rest of us apply existing theory to do calculations aimed at solving real world pproblems, I thought philosophers were developing new general theory and the rest of were applying this theory in our own moral calculations.

 

It seems to me that alot of what is beig called 'philosphy' is people trying to do moral calculations.

 

Often math progresses because a calculational need arises for which there is no existig relevant mathematical theory and this spurs the mathematicians to develop new theory  

 

It seems to me that the ethics of decision making when decisions affect others not involved in the decision making is a problem as old as the hills.

 

I just don't see how this itch is going to need a scratch of a different kind.  Aren't existig types of scratches are sufficient? I will be suprised if geoengineering will really be an irritant that can spur  philosophical innovation. Not impossible, but I am dubious.

 

In contrast, I do see how  neuroscience can perhaps act a an tch that promotes new types if philosophical scratches.
Sent from a limited-typing keyboard

 

On Apr 8, 2012, at 0:13, O Morton <omeco...@gmail.com <mailto:omeco...@gmail.com> > wrote:

 

> I agree with Ninad; philosophy feeds on novelty in its continual

> reassessments; it doesn't assimilate it in a serial model of progress.

> Many philosophical problems are not solved (though they may be moved

> outside the realm of philosophy by other developments), and few are

> novel. There's a relevant quotation from Wittgenstein:

>

> “Philosophy has made no progress? If somebody scratches where it

> itches, does that count as progress? If not, does that mean it wasn’t

> an authentic scratch? Not an authentic itch? Couldn’t this response to

> the stimulus go on for quite a long time until a remedy for itching is

> found?”
>> read more »


>

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Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

Stephen Salter

unread,
Apr 11, 2012, 7:27:42 AM4/11/12
to Andrew Lockley, geoengi...@googlegroups.com
Andrew

The imbalance is what we have got now and what will get worse if we do� nothing.


Stephen
Emeritus Professor of Engineering Design
Institute for Energy Systems
School of Engineering
Mayfield Road
University of Edinburgh EH9  3JL
Scotland
Tel +44 131 650 5704
Mobile 07795 203 195
www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs

On 11/04/2012 12:21, Andrew Lockley wrote:

It's the imbalance of polar temperatures which is a cause for concern - a geoengineered arctic on its own. The result is a potential geographic shift of the ITCZ which could have dramatic effects on regional vegetation.

If we are to engineer only the arctic we need to be sure this won't mess up other parts of the climate system.

I hope Mike's model run will involve a range of forcings up to very large interventions, to detect any potential tipping points.

Putting the output through a vegetation model will hopefully give us some really useful info.

A

On Apr 11, 2012 11:38 AM, "Stephen Salter" <S.Sa...@ed.ac.uk> wrote:
Andrew

If geoengineering in the Arctic to restore previous Arctic temperatures is going to mess up monsoons what does John Shepherd say will happen to monsoons with dramatically increased Arctic temperatures?

Stephen
Emeritus Professor of Engineering Design
Institute for Energy Systems
School of Engineering
Mayfield Road
University of Edinburgh EH9  3JL
Scotland
Tel +44 131 650 5704
Mobile 07795 203 195
www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs

On 11/04/2012 02:23, Andrew Lockley wrote:

John Shepherd cautioned me that there's a risk that Arctic geoengineering could move the ITCZ, and hence the monsoon.

If we're even considering doing this at any point in the next couple of decades, we should IMO be pushing modelling studies right away. The consequences of inadvertently affecting the monsoon are very serious indeed, and we need to accurately model the teleconnections before making actionable proposals.

My understanding is that this needs a high res GCM model to resolve this effect.� I hope a group can run this.

A

On Apr 10, 2012 11:36 PM, "Mike MacCracken" <mmac...@comcast.net> wrote:
I�ve been off-line for most of this discussion, but let me offer a couple of comments regarding tropospheric sulfate. The major health and environmental impacts of sulfate and the SO2 emissions been that, because the SO2 is a by product of coal combustion, the emission of SO2 and deposition of sulfate have been generally in the most populated regions of the world (North Atlantic basin through much of the 20th century, and now, presumably, mainly eastern and southern Asia). In a geoengineering application, limited scientific results suggest that it would be much more effective to be creating the sulfate layer out over the dark ocean, in relatively clean areas to enhance cloud brightening, and in low latitudes to get maximum solar exposure�and it would make no sense to put out all the other byproducts of coal combustion that may actually be the cause of the worst health impacts. Thus, assuming one could technically emit the SO2 over remote Pacific and Indian ocean areas in ways that would create larger areas with lower amounts of sulfate to get a similar or even greater cooling effect, the ethical (and governance) issues concern how might one make the tradeoffs of perhaps significantly reduced climate impacts for billions, but, quite possibly, a different mix of impacts (some less, some more) for millions.

My suggestions to use sulfate in the Arctic troposphere during the Arctic sunlit season only raise similar issues�though in this case those in the Arctic presumably get very significant benefits in that one would be trying to preserve the present or slightly cooler climate while experiencing some impacts (for several reasons quite possibly lower health impacts than caused by past SO2 emissions) with key potential benefits of slowing or countering permafrost thawing (so reducing global warming) and ice sheet mass loss (so reducing sea level rise) with likely some impacts on precipitation systems that are good for some and detrimental to others, etc. Again, very challenging governance and ethical aspects (not to mention public education challenges to have an informed discussion).


And then there is the potential that some other suitable substance could be generated (e.g., sea salt CCN) that would presumably limit the health impacts (although this may well not be the dominant impact to be considered, there are economic considerations, and lots more). And there may be particular operational considerations that can minimize some types of impacts, etc.

With so much (and more) to be considered, it seems to me there is a very significant need to be augmenting scientific thinking about all of this�indeed, the engineering and scientific aspects might well be the least challenging aspects.


Mike MacCracken




On 4/9/12 12:28 AM, "John Nissen" <johnnis...@gmail.com> wrote:

�
Hi Oliver,
�
I attended the Planet Under Pressure conference, for the session on geoengineering governance.� A cynic would regard most of the speakers as people who had found a nice subject for academic study, and were not particularly interested in whether geoengineering was actually required!� But let me move on from cynicism.
�
I take John Gorman's point that the problem we face is�essentially an engineering problem, quoting the economist Robert Samuelson who said:
�

"The trouble with the global warming debate is that it has become a moral crusade when it's really an engineering problem. The inconvenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we're helpless."
�
As an engineer as well as a scientist, I am able see the Earth System as a piece of engineering, where the mechanism controlling stability (especially of temperature and the carbon cycle) has been damaged and requires repair.� Certain parts of the system are critically damaged and require repair immediately before the system collapses into a new state, inconducive to the continuation of civilisation as we know it.� In this situation, not to intervene would be suicidal, and therefore there is a moral imperative to act.
�
Now, I agree with�Michael Hayes's argument that that any action to affect the Earth System, whether deliberate or inadvertent, should be considered geoengineering.� For me the question of morality of some particular geoengineering technique or measure, is whether it is helping to repair (or allow repair of)�the Earth System or not.
�
May I now take an example of where a 'good/ethical measure' from one point of view is a 'bad/unethical measure' from another point of view.� This is sulphate aerosol in the troposphere.� This has been countering the global warming of greenhouse gases by up to 75% during the past century, until there was a determined effort to reduce sulphur 'pollution' in the 80s and 90s.� This effort continues with an effort to further reduce tropospheric sulphur by removing the sulphur from the 'bunker fuel' used by ships.� It has been estimated that ships have contributed a negative forcing (i.e. a global cooling) of up to 0.6 Watts/m-2.
�
So from one point of�view - the pollution point of view, which prevails today -�the removal of sulphur from bunker fuel is a good thing.� But if one considers how seriously damaged the Earth System has become, especially with the sea ice retreat in the Arctic, removal of sulphur is close to suicidal, and definitely bad/unethical.
�
Leaving�sulphur in�ship's fuel is not going to save the Arctic sea ice, but will definitely help.� If you agree with the argument that saving the sea ice is necessary to reduce the risk of methane feedback (i.e. necessary to defuse the methane time-bomb) then removing sulphur from ship's fuel is not sensible.
�
The case for SRM geoengineering to cool the Arctic is much clearer.� Without some rapid cooling action to save the Arctic sea ice, the Arctic warming will accelerate, methane feedback will almost inevitably gain traction, and we could be in for run-away global warming - definitely suicidal.
�
So SRM geoengineering has to be part of the solution of the engineering problem, in the case of the Arctic sea ice.� Not to geoengineer would be suicidal and therefore immoral.�
�
John
�
---
�
On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 7:22 PM, Oliver Morton <Oliver...@economist.com> wrote:
Do philosophers have to be service providers -- can't they simply be doing philosophy on a topic they find interesting? And if they are service providers to whom are they providing their services (who is "us" in Ken's post). Society at large, or natural scientists involved in geoengineering research, or some other entity?�



On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM, Ken Caldeira <kcal...@carnegie.stanford.edu> wrote:
So, would it be safe to say that the primary service that philosophers are trying to provide is to help us to use language precisely and to think more clearly about difficult issues?

Is the analogy then of the person needing to do a calculation, asking the mathematician for help, where there is no expectation of really generating significant new mathematics to solve the problem? Nevertheless, we might surprise ourselves and our plebeian problems might in fact induce innovation within the helping discipline.

---

Admittedly, I looked at your first paper only, which discussed 'moral hazard'. It does seem to me useful to examine what is meant by this term, and how people are using it differently in the geoengineering context.

It is good to know when we have a disagreement whether that disagreement is a difference in our understanding of the facts, a difference in our values, or whether it is a difference in how we are applying words. (And also if it is possible to have disagreements that somehow sit between these categories -- are there clear boundaries between matters language, values, and fact?)

Insofar as philosophers are able to help us disentangle differences in use of language from differences in value judgments and differences in our understanding of the facts, this is a useful enterprise.� More often than not, these things are muddied in discussion. It would be useful if everyone, when we have a disagreement, would make a greater effort to identify the source and nature of the disagreement.

=======================

On matters of language, �I am with Humpty Dumpty. I am usually willing to defer to anyone's usage, if they can provide a reasonably clear definition explaining how they are using terms. On the other hand, I am very much with Hume in wanting to clearly distinguish between is and ought, while recognizing that much of language embodies both fact and value.

Think of the use of a term like 'enhances' that implicitly contains a value judgment -- if we assert that 'ocean fertilization increases carbon export' are we also asserting that 'ocean fertilization enhances carbon export'? Can I agree we the first assertion and disagree with the latter?� Sometimes we don't understand when we are making a factual statement and when we are implicitly presenting a value judgment.

========================

�When I use a word,� Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, �it means just what I choose it to mean�neither more nor less.�
�The question is,� said Alice, �whether you can make words mean so many different things.�
�The question is,� said Humpty Dumpty, �which is to be master������that�s all.�

--Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking Glass, 1872




On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 8:30 AM, Ben Hale <bh...@colorado.edu> wrote:
I guess a philosopher should probably pipe in here.

�

I work a fair bit on ethics and geoengineering. Most of what I've been doing has been oriented around getting a clearer sense of what problem geoengineering is supposedly a response to. There's a prevailing assumption, for instance, that we well understand the problem with climate change, but I think this is far from clear. Supposedly, the problem with climate change is that the climate will change, and presumably this will be a change for the worse. I don't disagree that the change will be for the worse, but that it will be worse simpliciter doesn�t strike me as the core problem. Many things in the world change for the worse, and only sometimes do we respond to them. The question of geoengineering, and the variety associated technologies, can help us get a grip on the nature of the climate change problem. So that�s one way in which geoengineering has interest philosophically: by shedding light on the problem that many of us are keen to address and helping us understand the nature of our obligations to address this problem.

�

Another way in which ethics and geoengineering are philosophically interesting is in a clinical sense: we need to ask what sorts of things we�re permitted or obligated to do; and what sorts of things we�re restricted from doing. Just as a bioethicist dissects the sundry questions associated with health, technology, and medicine, so too can ethicists do the same with geoengineering. There are many related questions about the permissibility of one technology over another, as clearly some technologies will demand more of some, or perhaps burden others, in ways that are unacceptably unfair. �

�


Beyond the forward-looking clinical ethical questions, there are also questions related to definition and the nature of geoengineering. For instance, I think the distinction between SRM and CDR is falsely concrete, and that instead we should distinguish according to whether geoengineering is an attempt to remediate (that is, to draw down our carbon and GHG contributions, as well as our bad land-use decisions, by way of cleaning up our messes) versus an attempt to steer (that is, to avoid anticipated bad consequences from our prior actions). To me, at least, this distinction helps us understand some relatively powerful intuitions that we may have, for instance, that air capture technologies and reforestation practices are nowhere near as worrisome as stratospheric injection technologies and ocean fertilization proposals.

�


As to Ken's initial inquiry, it's hard to say, generally, what philosophers are doing. It is true that in one respect there's nothing new under the sun, that all hitherto philosophy is just a series of footnotes to Plato, but what most of professional philosophers take themselves to be doing is gaining a bit more clarity and insight on current and ancient problems than otherwise might be gained simply by picking up the classic texts. In the case of geoengineering, there's a lot of work to be done that may help us get to a better place with a more intelligent discourse.

�


Here's some of my published work on the topic:

�

1.������ �The World that Would Have Been: Moral Hazard Arguments against Geoengineering� Reflecting Sunlight: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management Ed. Christopher Preston. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. 2012. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf> �

�

2.������ �Getting the Bad Out: Remediation Technologies and Respect for Others� The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics. Eds. Kabasenche, W.B., O'Rourke, M., and Slater, M. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf> �

�

3.������ �Non-renewable Resources and the Inevitability of Outcomes,� The Monist, 94(1), July 2011. http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2011.28.pdf

�

4.������ �Carbon Sequestration, Ocean Fertilization, and the Problem of Permissible Pollution� (with Lisa Dilling), Science, Technology, and Human Values. 36(2): 190-212. 2011. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

�

5.������ �Remediation and Respect: Do Remediation Technologies Alter Our Responsibility?� (with Bill Grundy), Environmental Values. 18(4). 2009. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003

�

6.������ �You say 'solution', I say 'pollution': Ocean fertilization is a fishy solution to a whale of a problem,� Guest commentary, Science Progress, August 18, 2009. http://scienceprogress.org/2009/08/ocean-fertilization-ethics/

�

I have a few other pieces in various stages of progress as well. I�m happy to share.

�

Beyond this, there�s some really great stuff coming out now from a number of other sources. Christopher Preston has convened a volume on the Ethics of Solar Radiation Management, we�re publishing a series of essays later this summer in the journal Ethics, Policy, & Environment, and there is even more stuff forthcoming.

�


These bibliographies compiled by Preston should prove helpful:

Benjamin Hale

Assistant Professor

Philosophy and Environmental Studies

University of Colorado, Boulder

Tel: 303 735-3624 <tel:303%20735-3624> ; Fax: 303 735-1576 <tel:303%20735-1576>

http://www.practicalreason.com

http://cruelmistress.wordpress.com

Ethics, Policy & Environment

�

�

�

�


-----Original Message-----
From: geoengi...@googlegroups.com [mailto:geoengi...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Ken Caldeira
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2012 6:04 AM
To: omeco...@gmail.com
Cc: geoengineering
Subject: Re: [geo] Re: Ethics of Geoengineering (anything new?)

�


I think I simply use the word 'philosophy' different than most modern philosophers.

�


Just as I think of mathematicians developing new mathematical theory while the rest of us apply existing theory to do calculations aimed at solving real world pproblems, I thought philosophers were developing new general theory and the rest of were applying this theory in our own moral calculations.

�


It seems to me that alot of what is beig called 'philosphy' is people trying to do moral calculations.

�

Often math progresses because a calculational need arises for which there is no existig relevant mathematical theory and this spurs the mathematicians to develop new theory��

�


It seems to me that the ethics of decision making when decisions affect others not involved in the decision making is a problem as old as the hills.

�

I just don't see how this itch is going to need a scratch of a different kind.� Aren't existig types of scratches are sufficient? I will be suprised if geoengineering will really be an irritant that can spur� philosophical innovation. Not impossible, but I am dubious.

�

In contrast, I do see how� neuroscience can perhaps act a an tch that promotes new types if philosophical scratches.

�
�


Sent from a limited-typing keyboard

�


On Apr 8, 2012, at 0:13, O Morton <omeco...@gmail.com <mailto:omeco...@gmail.com> > wrote:

�


> I agree with Ninad; philosophy feeds on novelty in its continual

> reassessments; it doesn't assimilate it in a serial model of progress.

> Many philosophical problems are not solved (though they may be moved

> outside the realm of philosophy by other developments), and few are

> novel. There's a relevant quotation from Wittgenstein:

>

> �Philosophy has made no progress? If somebody scratches where it

> itches, does that count as progress? If not, does that mean it wasn�t

> an authentic scratch? Not an authentic itch? Couldn�t this response to

> the stimulus go on for quite a long time until a remedy for itching is

> found?�
>> read more �


>

> --

> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "geoengineering" group.

> To post to this group, send email to geoengi...@googlegroups.com <mailto:geoengi...@googlegroups.com> .

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Mike MacCracken

unread,
Apr 11, 2012, 9:00:16 AM4/11/12
to Andrew Lockley, Stephen Salter, Geoengineering
Dear Andrew—As I recall, at least one of the Hadley scenarios for just GHGs had Amazonian vegetation dying away, so comparative evaluation could be very interesting—we do have to remember the decision is between GHG without GE (and there are multiple scenarios for this) and GHG with GE (and there are many GE possibilities as well, at least some of which can be tuned to minimize at least some types of impacts—making such choices, of course, will not be without controversy, some real and likely some speculative and inflammatory, etc.).

Best, Mike



On 4/11/12 7:21 AM, "Andrew Lockley" <and...@andrewlockley.com> wrote:

It's the imbalance of polar temperatures which is a cause for concern - a geoengineered arctic on its own. The result is a potential geographic shift of the ITCZ which could have dramatic effects on regional vegetation.

If we are to engineer only the arctic we need to be sure this won't mess up other parts of the climate system.

I hope Mike's model run will involve a range of forcings up to very large interventions, to detect any potential tipping points.

Putting the output through a vegetation model will hopefully give us some really useful info.

A
On Apr 11, 2012 11:38 AM, "Stephen Salter" <S.Sa...@ed.ac.uk> wrote:
    
 Andrew
 
 If geoengineering in the Arctic to restore previous Arctic temperatures is going to mess up monsoons what does John Shepherd say will happen to monsoons with dramatically increased Arctic temperatures?
 
 Stephen
 
Emeritus Professor of Engineering Design
Institute for Energy Systems
School of Engineering
Mayfield Road
University of Edinburgh EH9  3JL
Scotland
Tel +44 131 650 5704 <tel:%2B44%20131%20650%205704>
Mobile 07795 203 195
www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs <http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs>
 1.       “The World that Would Have Been: Moral Hazard Arguments against Geoengineering” Reflecting Sunlight: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management Ed. Christopher Preston. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. 2012. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf>  <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Geoengineering_and_Moral_Hazard_webversion.pdf>  
 
  
 
 2.       “Getting the Bad Out: Remediation Technologies and Respect for Others” The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics. Eds. Kabasenche, W.B., O'Rourke, M., and Slater, M. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Forthcoming, 2012. http://spot.colorado.edu/~bhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf>  <http://spot.colorado.edu/%7Ebhale/Getting_the_Bad_Out_MIT_draft_single-spaced.pdf>  

 
  
 
 3.       “Non-renewable Resources and the Inevitability of Outcomes,” The Monist, 94(1), July 2011. http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2011.28.pdf
 
  
 
 4.       “Carbon Sequestration, Ocean Fertilization, and the Problem of Permissible Pollution” (with Lisa Dilling), Science, Technology, and Human Values. 36(2): 190-212. 2011. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003
 
  
 
 5.       “Remediation and Respect: Do Remediation Technologies Alter Our Responsibility?” (with Bill Grundy), Environmental Values. 18(4). 2009. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2009/00000018/00000004/art00003
 
  
 
 6.       “You say 'solution', I say 'pollution': Ocean fertilization is a fishy solution to a whale of a problem,” Guest commentary, Science Progress, August 18, 2009. http://scienceprogress.org/2009/08/ocean-fertilization-ethics/
 
  
 
 I have a few other pieces in various stages of progress as well. I’m happy to share.
 
  
 
 Beyond this, there’s some really great stuff coming out now from a number of other sources. Christopher Preston has convened a volume on the Ethics of Solar Radiation Management, we’re publishing a series of essays later this summer in the journal Ethics, Policy, & Environment, and there is even more stuff forthcoming.
 
  
 
 These bibliographies compiled by Preston should prove helpful:
 
  
 
 http://www.umt.edu/ethics/resourcecenter/default.php
 
 http://www.umt.edu/ethics/resourcecenter/bibliography/ethics.php
 
  
 
 Enjoy!
 
  
 
 Best,
 
 Ben
 
  
 
  
 
 Benjamin Hale
 
 Assistant Professor
 
 Philosophy and Environmental Studies
 
 University of Colorado, Boulder
 
 Tel: 303 735-3624 <tel:303%20735-3624>  <tel:303%20735-3624> ; Fax: 303 735-1576 <tel:303%20735-1576>  <tel:303%20735-1576>