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Geoengineering the climate: the way forward?
Co-Conveners: Jonathan Dick , Oksana Tarasova , Bárbara Ferreira , Mark Wilkinson 
Thu, 01 May, 15:30–17:00

For years geoengineering, defined by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society as “the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change,” was seen by many as a peripheral and slightly bizarre area of research. However, given ongoing difficulties with negotiating emission reduction targets and with 2015 fast approaching – the year when countries have to conclude a global climate agreement through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – many have started taking geoengineering seriously as a potential way to offset the negative consequences of climate change. When the recent IPCC report suggested that geoengineering the climate could be necessary to meet climate goals, it brought the controversy over the topic into the spotlight. So, how feasible is it to manipulate the Earth system for our own ends? Is it something we should be doing? Or will it do more harm than good?

Proponents of geoengineering argue that it is an essential component to counteract climate change and that it provides a cost-effective alternative to reducing carbon emissions. Those against it argue the risks are too great and the unknowns too numerous. So what stand should geoscientists take on this? Should there be a major push for research funding for this area? Should we be going ahead with large-scale experiments?

This Great Debate will address these questions and critically examine the controversy surrounding geoengineering.

*Ken Caldeira (Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution)
*Andreas Oschlies (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel)
*Mark Lawrence (Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam)
*Paul Quinn (School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University)
*Krishna Kumar Kanikicharla (Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC Working Group I)

Moderator: Caspar Hewett, Director of The Great Debate (, Department of Geography, Durham University