This sincere interest in geoengineering and climate modification represents a broader shift in climate science from observation to intervention. It also represents a huge change for a field that used to regard any interference with the climate system — short of cutting greenhouse gas emissions — as verboten. “There is a growing realization that [solar radiation management] is not a taboo anymore,” Dan Visioni, a Cornell climate professor, told me. “There was a growing interest from NASA, NOAA, the national labs, that wasn’t there a year ago.”
At the highest level, this acceptance of geoengineering shows that scientists have seriously begun to imagine what will happen if humanity blows its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
I think this development is wholly welcome, and overdue.