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Could Geoengineering Be Part of an Overall Climate Strategy?

Monday, March 26, 2018 at 2:55pm to 4:10pm

Riley-Robb Hall, 125
111 Wing Drive, Ithaca, NY 14853

The 2015 Paris agreement set a goal of keeping global mean temperature rise to well below 2C, and ideally below 1.5C, yet the commitments made as part of the agreement are projected to lead to closer to 3C warming.  While aggressively reducing our greenhouse gas emissions (“mitigation”) is essential, by itself it will not be sufficient to meet these goals.  Carbon dioxide removal (“CDR”), if implemented at sufficient scale, could eventually reduce temperatures, but these ideas remain untested, and there could still be a potentially significant overshoot of temperature targets, with associated climate impacts.  Given this context, should we conduct research to understand solar geoengineering?  This includes ideas such as adding aerosols to the stratosphere that would reflect some sunlight.  Climate model simulations suggest that it is plausible that a limited deployment, if used in addition to mitigation and CDR rather than instead of it, might reduce many climate impacts for most people.  However, there are substantial uncertainties in the climate system, as well as substantial challenges for governance.

Douglas MacMartin (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) will present.


The 2018 Cornell University Climate Change Seminar meets Monday afternoons through May 7. This university-wide seminar provides important views on the critical issue of climate change, drawing from many perspectives and disciplines. Experts from Cornell University and other universities will present an overview of the science of climate change and climate change models, the implications for agriculture, ecosystems, and food systems, and provide important economic, ethical, and policy insights on the issue.

The seminar is free and open to the Cornell and Ithaca Community at large, and most will be available as a Zoom webinar (register).

Organized and sponsored by the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

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Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Sustainability



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Danielle Lee Eiseman


Douglas MacMartin

Speaker Affiliation

Cornell Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

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