Fixing the Sky

Fixing the Sky: the checkered history of weather and climate control by James Rodger Fleming (Columbia University Press, 2010)

As the years go by and the world misses yet another target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions that warm the planet, “geo-engineering” gets mentioned more and more often. Though climate models are getting more sophisticated, they are still nowhere near the point of being able to accurately predict all results and side effects of a large-scale attempt to alter the carbon content of the ocean or atmosphere. “Fixing the Sky” tries to get us to look at the history of weather and climate control and think about its ethical, political and economic ramifications before we do anything rash. Fleming did a good deal of historical research into prior attempts to control our weather and climate, and found that few of them showed any evidence of having worked.  He also makes the point that even if an engineering “fix” was proven to work, that wouldn’t make it ethically right to undertake it.  Because of meteorology’s close affiliation with military interests over the years, Fleming is very concerned that today’s “geo-engineers” are dangerously blind (and indifferent) to the many unknown negatives of global-scale climate fixes.

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