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Environment Magazine September/October 2008

September-October 2012

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Soft Geoengineering: A Gentler Approach to Addressing Climate Change

A generation ago, the idea of engineering the climate to counteract global warming was almost universally dismissed as misguided. Climate scientist David Keith recalls that when he became interested in climate geoengineering as a graduate student, the topic could hardly be discussed in polite scientific company and was verboten in environmental circles.1

In the past few years, however, several leading members of the scientific community have changed their minds and decided that climate geoengineering deserves a second look.

Robert L. Olson is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) in Alexandria, Virginia. He was a member of the institute's founding Board of Directors and served as Director of Research from 1990 to 2003. He is the author of Geoengineering for Decision Makers published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and co-editor of the books Mending The Earth and Environmentalism and the Technologies of Tomorrow. Previously he was a project director and consultant to the Director at the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, a Fellow in the Center for Cooperative Global Development at the American University, and a Resident Fellow at the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study.

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