The Ethics of Geoengineering

Harvard climate scientists have been preparing to launch a balloon capable of spraying reflective particles into the atmosphere, in the hopes of learning more about our ability to counteract global warming. But it’s fraught with controversy

Critics fear such a step will lend scientific legitimacy to the idea that we could turn the dial on Earth’s climate. And they fret that even doing experiments is starting down a slippery slope toward creating a tool of incredible power.

Despite the critics, Harvard will take a significant step forward on Monday, as the university announces the formation of a committee to ensure that researchers take appropriate steps to limit health and environmental risks, seek and incorporate outside input, and operate in a transparent manner.

It’s a move that could create a template for how geoengineering research is conducted going forward, and perhaps pave the way for more experiments to follow.

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