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Could we control our climate?
Could we control our climate?

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4.5 Your values

To say that [sulfate aerosol geoengineering] is ‘possible’ understates the case: it is cheap and technically easy. The specialized aircraft and dispersal systems required to get started could be deployed in a few years for the price of a Hollywood blockbuster.

Keith (2013)

… the idea of ‘fixing’ the climate by hacking the Earth’s reflection of sunlight is wildly, utterly, howlingly barking mad.… the idea of ‘fixing’ the climate by hacking the Earth’s reflection of sunlight is wildly, utterly, howlingly barking mad.

Pierrehumbert (2015)

Which view is closer to your own? Have your views changed after studying this course?

You might have expected this course to give you expert, definitive answers on climate change, whether scientific or political. You might well now be thinking: with these uncertainties, subjectivity, contested knowledge, probabilities, judgements and values – how can we know, or do, anything?

Appreciating these issues is essential to understanding climate change and policy. Awareness – even humility – about the complexity and ambiguity of climate science and possible solutions makes us better equipped to tackle this deeply challenging problem. There are no easy, clear answers. We must be vigilant against the dangers of dogma – believing one has absolute certainty, even though all knowledge is inherently imperfect. 

The sentiment is expressed in these words spoken by Jacob Bronowski in his landmark series ‘The Ascent of Man’:

Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known. We always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgement in science stands on the edge of error and is personal.

Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. In the end, the words were said by Oliver Cromwell, ’I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.’

Bronowski (1973)