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Pitch

Intergovernmental panel to set the Earth's thermostat and advocate for reduced CO2 emissions


Description

Summary

There are a number of technologies which can be used to adjust the Earth's absorption of incoming solar radiation and/or to sequester C02 and other greenhouse gases (see Deciding where to set the earth’s thermostat for examples).  There are risks associated with deploying each of these technologies, not the least of which is the cost of implementing them.  And each of the technologies has potential benefits.

But the big issue in using any technology is that any adjustment of Earth's thermostat will benefit some people at the expense of others.  Before Earth's thermostat can be adjusted, a protocol must be put in place by which a global consensus can be reached regarding what adjustments to make, if any.

Furthermore, the ability to control Earth's temperature can not be allowed to justify relaxing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.  CO2 does not simply warm the climate.  It has other deleterious effects.

The MIT community should advocate for an intergovernmental panel to be established and maintained to promote and regulate research on setting the Earth's thermostat while continuing to advocate for a reduction in CO2 emissions.

If it becomes necessary to implement urgent measures to reduce average global temperature quickly and substantially, the panel can help to establish a global consensus on when and how to adjust the Earth's thermostat.


Category of the action

Geoengineering


What actions do you propose?

Publish an open letter from MIT requesting that a panel be established and maintained by a consortium of interested parties.


Who will take these actions?

The panel should quickly develop mechanisms by which any interested party can participate in debates and decisions, either directly or through organizations which participate directly.


Where will these actions be taken?

Worldwide


What are other key benefits?

If it becomes necessary to implement urgent measures to reduce average global temperature quickly and substantially, the panel can help to establish a global consensus on when and how to adjust the Earth's thermostat.


What are the proposal’s costs?


Time line

Research efforts to begin immediately.  Prototype technologies ready to deploy within 5 years.


Related proposals


References