What's the Problem with Geo-engineering?

Ross Mittiga | PhD Candidate, University of Virginia

Friday, October 20, 2017 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM


Before long, geo-engineering may offer the most cost-effective option for preventing further harm from climate change. Should this be the case, utilitarians and liberals will have difficulty explaining the sense of aversion and tragedy many feel about intentionally manipulating the climate. Appeals to precaution only partially explain these feelings. For a fuller picture, we need a thicker conception of the proper values and ends of political society. To this end, I examine how classical Buddhist and Greek notions of temperance, justice, and freedom bear on the question of geo-engineering.My intention is not to pronounce on whether geo-engineering is morally “right” or “wrong,” but to highlight reasons for thinking it unattractive in a broader sense, thereby strengthening the case for exhausting conventional, emissions-reductions options.