US Senate science advisor talks geoengineering from high in the sky

Shuchi Talati discusses sunlight-blocking aerosols, ocean seeding, rogue geoengineers—and a misunderstood field

Shuchi Talati, a science advisor in the U.S. Senate, is blunt about the lack of structure and regulation around geoengineering—"there is zero governance."


"There's no international governance body, no national governance body," Talati says, while hovering thousands of feet in the air with pilot Ali Nouri, previously a legislative director for former Minnesota Democrat Sen. Al Franken.

The interview is the Nouri's latest installment of "Above the Fray" — a YouTube channel where he flies around and interviews people working at the intersection of policy and science. Nouri previously interviewed EHN founder and chief scientist, Pete Myers, about BPA and other endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Talati gives Nouri a primer on geoengineering—which refers to technological manipulations of Earth's climate in an effort to slow climate change.

The two main types, she says, are solar radiation management, which mostly refers to injecting sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight and, hence cool the Earth; and carbon dioxide removal, which is best illustrated by direct air capture—machines that take carbon dioxide out of the air and store it underground.

The U.S. hasn't deployed geoengineering projects yet—and there are real concerns about messing with the Earth in these ways. The unintended consequences can create a suite of new problems. But, Talati says, fear and misunderstanding has essentially shut down meaningful conversations and research.

"The entire topic has just been extremely taboo, and people are just so averse to it that we can't even talk about governance," she said.

"Even though we're not near deploying this technology we don't want to limit our scientific endeavors. That's counter to our philosophy as a country," she says.

Check out their whole ride in the video above, and see all of Nouri's Above the Fray videos here.

Get our Good News newsletter

Get the best positive, solutions-oriented stories we've seen on the intersection of our health and environment, FREE every Tuesday in your inbox. Subscribe here today. Keep the change tomorrow.

www.washingtonpost.com

Gretchen Daily’s conservation quest with the Natural Capital Project

Gretchen Daily is a pioneer in the field known as “natural capital.” Using science and software, she shows stakeholders why it benefits everyone to prioritize conservation.
loe.org

Living on Earth: Beyond the Headlines

Peter Dykstra joins Host Steve Curwood to talk about G20 nations providing more than $3 trillion in subsidies for fossil fuels despite their pledges to reduce emissions under the Paris Accord. Then, the two turn to the Great Salt Lake, which is becoming an environmental hazard as it continues to dry up. Finally, the two look at the 100th anniversary of the first crop dusting by airplanes and the birth of Delta Airlines.

www.npr.org

Reducing climate pollution saves lives, study finds

Cutting carbon emissions to zero in the next 30 years would save about 74 million lives this century, a new analysis estimates.

As the planet burns, climate spending dwindles in infrastructure bill

Rainfall, storms, grasshoppers, wildfires, drought. We've got 'em all right now, folks, in biblical proportions. And yet climate change is still stuck back in the action queue.

Keep reading... Show less
www.forbes.com

Environmental Science And Social Justice Activism Make Extraordinary Bedfellows: A Review Of ‘The World We Need.’

'The World We Need: Stories and Lessons from America’s Unsung Environmental Movement' is a gripping new anthology published by The New Press and edited by Brooklyn-based journalist Audrea Lim. It expertly shows how and why environmental science and social justice activism must work together.