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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
At one time a fringe notion, the idea of geoengineering-using radical means to change the climate deliberately-is gaining traction in scientific conferences and even in the White House, where doubts are growing regarding the efficacy of mainstream strategies (conservation, alternative energy, "storing carbon dioxide from coal plants in the ground"). In this fascinating wake-up call, Science magazine writer Kintisch begins with the startling notion that "clean air could kill us," because tiny particles in the atmosphere scatter sunlight and cool the planet; a proposal mimicking the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which cooled the earth by a half degree, would release 5.3 million tons of sulfur into the atmosphere per year to counter global warming. Opponents argue that the unforeseen consequences of this and similar efforts could prove more disastrous than the original problems; Kintisch also suggests that conservatives embracing radical solutions like large-scale ocean algae blooms are simply trying to block profit-threatening regulation and alternative energy development. By no means a run-of-the-mill survey of climate change solutions, this volume takes a engaged but balanced look at humanity's life-or-death situation, providing numerous angles on the role of cutting-edge science as either "our downfall or our savior."
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