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Testing Geoengineering Before It's Needed

The SuperFreakonomics chapter on geoengineering solutions to global warming has generated plenty of heat, but scientific and political interest in the concept is on the rise. An article in Slate by Eli Kintisch discusses the current debate among scientists over how to test geoengineering: “So one group of scientists argues that by gradually increasing the size of our experiments, we can get as much data as possible with minimal risk. Another says that only a dangerous, full-scale deployment can shed light on the crucial issue of how effective a particular dose will be.” Kintisch wonders if all the debate, and the accompanying political complications, will rule out testing altogether, instead resulting in an emergency “full deployment, with little more than computer-based risk estimates to guide us.” Or, alternately, some freelance geoengineering by a single government. (HT: Daniel Lippman)[%comments]