Geoengineering: Science, Ethics and Policy

An interdisciplinary seminar series exploring the interfaces between the scientific concepts, engineering viability, policy and governance issues, and ethical questions surrounding the deliberate modification of the Earth’s climate system (geoengineering). The series is supported and hosted by the University of Washington College of the Environment Institute, the Program on Values in Society, the Program on Climate Change (PCC), and the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.


Series title: Geoengineering: Science, Policy and Ethics

Course listing: ATMS 586/PCC 586

Location: Johnson Hall (JHN) 075, unless stated otherwise below

Time: Winter quarter 2011, 3:30-4:50pm Wednesdays, unless otherwise stated in schedule below (marked in red)

Organizers: Robert Wood (Atmospheric Sciences,, Steven Gardiner (Philosophy,, and Lauren Hartzell (Philosophy,


Humans are expected to more than double the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the end of this century, even under scenarios that assume the world will aggressively move away from fossil fuels. These emission scenarios make it virtually certain that the global average temperature will exceed the threshold that numerous experts say will greatly harm ecosystems and human health, security and welfare. If global climate change triggers climate emergencies, what are our options?

This seminar series entitled “Geoengineering: Science, Policy and Ethics”, to be supported by the College of the Environment Institute and hosted by the UW Program on Climate Change, is an interdisciplinary exploration of geoengineering, one of the radical proposed solutions to the climate crisis. The series will explore the scientific feasibility of geoengineering schemes, their associated ethical arguments and values, and the legal and political scenarios that geoengineering will introduce. Speakers include national and international experts from the fields of science, policy and ethics.


Confirmed speakers:





[Material provide in links is for viewing only. Do not use images/slides without permission]

Wednesday Jan 5

Extended introductory seminar 3:30-5:30

Note room change: will be held in the Walker-Ames room (Kane Hall)

Dale Jamieson [NYU] + introduction to science (Tom Ackerman [UW]) + discussion

Geoengineering as a Response to Climate Change: An Urgent Problem Meets a Bad Concept [PDF Presentation]

To be preceded by an introduction to the science by Tom Ackerman (Geoengineering as a response to climate change) [PDF Presentation]

Note reception to follow 5:30-6:30, Walker-Ames room

Wednesday Jan 12

Phil Rasch [PNNL]

Marine cloud brightening [PDF presentation]

Friday Jan 21

Alan Robock [Rutgers]

Benefits, Costs, and Risks of Stratospheric Geoengineering  [PDF presentation] [GCM Warming Simulation MPG]

Tuesday Jan 25, 3:30-5:30

Note room change: Johnson (JHN) 102

Jim Fleming [Colby College]

Fixing the Sky:

The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control [PDF presentation]

Friday Feb 11

Jane Long [LLNL]

Frankenstein's Academy:  What geoengineering can help us learn

Wednesday Feb 16

Note time change 12:00-1:20

And room change to MGH 251 (Videoconference room)

John O’Neill [Manchester]/Christopher Preston [U of Montana]

Ethics, policy and geo-engineering: an easy day in the mountains [PDF presentation]

Wednesday Feb 23

Steve Rayner [Oxford]

Geoengineering Governance [PDF presentation] [Streaming Video]

Wednesday Mar 2

Ben Hale [U. Colorado]

Fixing the Wrong Wrong: Geoengineering and the End of the World

Wednesday Mar 9

Michael Robinson-Dorn [UC Irvine]

Climate Engineering: What Law Has to Say About it