The Climate Engineering Wimp Out

There must be a term for it, for accepting a solution to a problem you deny exists.

Ah yes, today it is climate engineering, another cop-out solution to the climate destruction produced by humans.

Greed and laziness have put scales over our eyes. Even as humans gobble up the oceans, poison the air, suck rivers and aquifers dry, and plough down mountains, we pretend we leave a butterfly’s footprint on the Earth. And yet while the rich plan to escape to Mars or, in this case, take control of the climate to save (some) us from ourselves, the politicians tear up regulations that might curb this suicide.

Climate engineering is another solution bloated with pride and favored by the geniuses in the room, people like Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis who think we can tech ourselves to salvation. It’s a nice theory, but one littered with compounding problems and a short memory.

What’s interesting is that far too few are trying to apply tech solutions to changing our life-destroying habits. There have been calls for it, including from Alan Weisman in his book Countdown. Too few answer. Instead start-ups and tech giants apply their data mining, deep learning, and product design to… building, buying, and throwing away more stuff.

Science and tech have made humans more prevalent, more resource hungry, and more gluttonous. Humanity has forced itself into competition with all other life on Earth. Much of that life never evolved to compete with people. Now much of that other life is dying, and if people stick to this path they’re next. It’s deranged to think otherwise.

So, humanity is deranged.

And still, people deny the connection, and in a bout of self delusion believe climate engineering gets them on a course to maintain this way of life, better named a slow walk to death.

Ignoring for a moment the hubris of this climate engineering idea, if it worked even a bit two critical and largely unexamined issues remain. First, in a world inevitably less hospitable to humans than it is today, survival will mean — in spite of the falling costs of tech — survival of the richest.

Second, does that survival, for rich or poor or anyone at all, necessarily or even possibly point to a better, more enlightened, and more civilized, life?

On that front, doubtful.

Keep promoting these ideas?