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Weighing the value and risks of climate engineering

FSE director Roz Naylor and faculty affiliate Eric Lambin contributed to a new paper on climate engineering (geoengineering) in Nature Climate Change. Geoengineering has emerged as a potential climate change mitigation strategy, with proponents suggesting that injecting sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere - in order to disperse sunlight and decrease the temperature of the lower atmosphere - could limit global warming. 

The paper cautions that the governance of geoengineering is likely to be insurmountable in cases when the technology might prove useful, whereas the technology's effectiveness may be limited in places where there is more political willingness to implement geoengineering. Further, the major potential risks of geoengineering, and the uncertainties involved, suggest that a better approach to climate mitigation is immediate global action to address the root causes of climate change.

Both authors contributed to the paper as members of the science advisory board of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. Roz Naylor and Eric Lambin are professors in Environmental Earth System Science at Stanford Unviersity. Naylor is also senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Woods Institute for the Environment, and Lambin is a senior fellow at the Woods Institute.