Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Currency Multiplicity: Social Economic Networks

#21: Your nanorobotics future: life truly becomes ‘magical’

Meaning, Value and the Collective Afterlife: Must others survive for our lives to have meaning?

From German Idealism to American Pragmatism

Torture and the Ticking Time Bomb

#22: Ray Kurzweil on Rationality and the Moral Considerability of Intelligent Machines


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt


comments

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 17, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 17, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 16, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 15, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Does Religion Cause More Harm than Good? Brits Say Yes. Here’s Why They May be Right.
Nov 18, 2014
(21150) Hits
(2) Comments

Review of Michio Kaku’s, Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century
Dec 15, 2014
(8799) Hits
(0) Comments

What Will Life Be Like Inside A Computer?
Dec 7, 2014
(8162) Hits
(0) Comments

Bitcoin and Science: DNA is the Original Decentralized System
Nov 24, 2014
(7522) Hits
(0) Comments



IEET > Security > Resilience > Life > Access > Vision > Futurism > Affiliate Scholar > Seth Baum

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2988) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Double catastrophe: Intermittent stratospheric geoengineering induced by societal collapse


Seth Baum
By Seth Baum
sethbaum.com

Posted: Jan 6, 2013

Perceived failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has prompted interest in avoiding the harms of climate change via geoengineering, that is, the intentional manipulation of Earth system processes. Perhaps, the most promising geoengineering technique is stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), which reflects incoming solar radiation, thereby lowering surface temperatures.


A global catastrophe scenario involving climate change, geoengineering, and a separate catastrophe.


This paper analyzes a scenario in which SAI brings great harm on its own. The scenario is based on the issue of SAI intermittency, in which aerosol injection is halted, sending temperatures rapidly back toward where they would have been without SAI. The rapid temperature increase could be quite damaging, which in turn creates a strong incentive to avoid intermittency. In the scenario, a catastrophic societal collapse eliminates society's ability to continue SAI, despite the incentive. The collapse could be caused by a pandemic, nuclear war, or other global catastrophe. The ensuing intermittency hits a population that is already vulnerable from the initial collapse, making for a double catastrophe. While the outcomes of the double catastrophe are difficult to predict, plausible worst-case scenarios include human extinction. The decision to implement SAI is found to depend on whether global catastrophe is more likely from double catastrophe or from climate change alone. The SAI double catastrophe scenario also strengthens arguments for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and against SAI, as well as for building communities that could be self-sufficient during global catastrophes. Finally, the paper demonstrates the value of integrative, systems-based global catastrophic risk analysis.


Non-Technical Summary: pdf version

Background: Global Catastrophic Risk Systems Analysis
Global catastrophic risks are risks of events that would significantly harm or even destroy humanity at the global scale, such as climate change, nuclear war, and pandemics. To date, most research on global catastrophes analyzes one risk at a time. A better approach uses systems analysis to capture the many important interactions between risks. This paper analyzes a global catastrophe scenario involving climate change, geoengineering, and another catastrophe. We call the scenario "double catastrophe".

Climate Change & Stratospheric Geoengineering
The rising temperatures of global climate change pose great risks to humanity and ecosystems. Climate change can be slowed by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. But humanity has been struggling to reduce emissions. One alternative is geoengineering, the intentional manipulation of Earth systems. The most promising geoengineering option may be stratospheric geoengineering, in which aerosol particles are put into the stratosphere. The particles block sunlight, lowering temperatures on Earth's surface.

Intermittency & Double Catastrophe
One problem with stratospheric geoengineering, known as intermittency, is that the particles must be continuously replaced in the stratosphere. If they're not, then in a few years they fall out, and temperatures rapidly rise back to where they would have been without the geoengineering. The rapid temperature increase would be very damaging to society. Because of this, society is unlikely to let intermittency occur � unless some other catastrophe occurs, knocking out society's ability to continue the geoengineering. Then, the rapid temperature increase hits a population already vulnerable from the initial catastrophe. This double catastrophe could be a major global catastrophe.

Implications For Decision Making
Because of how damaging global catastrophes would be to human civilization, decision making is often oriented towards minimizing the risk of global catastrophe. Stratospheric geoengineering can prevent global catastrophe from climate change alone, but it can also lead to global catastrophe from the double catastrophe scenario. If global catastrophe is more likely from climate change alone, then society should decide to implement stratospheric geoengineering. Otherwise, society is better off without stratospheric geoengineering. This assumes (among other things) that the goal should be minimizing global catastrophic risk and that stratospheric geoengineering is the best form of geoengineering.


System diagram of the double catastrophe scenario.

Seth D. Baum, Timothy M. Maher, Jr., and Jacob Haqq-Misra. "Double catastrophe: Intermittent stratospheric geoengineering induced by societal collapse". Environment, Systems and Decisions, forthcoming.

Pre-print: Click here to view a full pre-print of the article (pdf).

* Blog discussions at Global Catastrophic Risk Institute, Overcoming Bias

 


Seth Baum(http://sethbaum.com) is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute (http://gcrinstitute.org). He received a PhD in Geography from Pennsylvania State University and was recently a post-doc with Columbia University's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.
Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2989) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: GMOs: The Future Of Food

Previous entry: Awesome Slam Poetry about Technology

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376