Podcast Brunch Club

Geoengineering the Climate: October 2021 podcast playlist

Podcast Brunch Club listening list: Geoengineering the Climate

The UN Secretary-General declared a “code red for humanity” after the recent release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1 report. If we are past the point of reversing climate change by mere mitigation strategies, then massive climate intervention is required to address our current problems. Some technologies that were considered fringe science are gaining new attention. But should we play God with climate? This playlist explores the topics of geoengineering, carbon removal, and solar radiation management.

Curated by Cesar Moncada, chapter leader of PBC’s Milwaukee chapter.


Get the full listening list on your podcast player of choice using these platforms:

This Month’s Podcast Playlist Running List of PBC Podcast Playlists
Podchaser | Listen Notes | Podyssey | Spotify Podchaser | Listen Notes | Podyssey | Spotify

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Future Perfect: “How to cool the planet with a fake volcano” (October 2018, 24 min)
When volcanoes erupt, they spray particles into the atmosphere that cool the planet for a bit. As we get closer and closer to truly catastrophic global warming, more and more scientists are wondering whether a similar approach, called solar geoengineering, could be necessary.

The Jordan Harbinger Show: “348: Thomas Kostigen | Hacking Planet Earth” (May 2020, 1 hr 16 min)
Thomas Kostigen is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. He joins Jordan Harbinger to discuss his latest book, “Hacking Planet Earth: How Geoengineering Can Help Us Reimagine the Future.”

The Interchange: “How to Strip Carbon From the Atmosphere” (February 2021, 49 min)
Carbon dioxide removal, or CDR, is an increasingly diverse and vibrant technology landscape, with some fundamental business model questions yet to be answered.

Outside/In: “Plan B” (June 2019, 33 min)
While reducing emissions is hard and complicated, why not just engineer the Earth’s atmosphere in the meantime? The science of geoengineering is still in its infancy, but a growing number of researchers are trying to change that. Should they?

The Ezra Klein Show: “Should We Dim the Sun? Will We Even Have a Choice?” (February 2021, 56 min)
A conversation with Elizabeth Kolbert about some of the difficult trade-offs and suboptimal options that we are left with. Kolbert is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist and wrote new book called “Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future.” Ezra Klein and Kolbert discuss the prospect of dimming the sun, whether “carbon capture” technology could scale up to the levels needed to make a dent in emissions levels, the ethics of using gene editing technologies to make endangered species more resistant to climate change, the governance mechanisms needed to prevent these technologies from getting out of hand, what a healthier narrative about humanity’s relationship with nature would sound like, how the pandemic altered carbon emissions, and more.

Bonus podcast episodes:

  • Brave New Planet: “A Radical Approach to Climate Change” (October 2020, 58 min)
    Could altering the Earth’s atmosphere to reflect back some of the sun’s rays be a solution to climate change? It would likely decrease global temperatures, but it might lead to climate wars. Humanity might become “addicted” to it for survival. And ultimately would this technology only distract us from tackling the real problem of carbon emissions?
  • TILclimate: “TIL about carbon capture” (July 2020, 12 min)
    How can we capture, use, and store carbon emissions, and how does that fit into a clean energy future?
  • Should This Exist?: “Cloud brightening for climate fever” (December 2020, 34 min)
    Cloud brightening uses a naturally occurring process to bounce rays from the sun back out to space. It could buy us more time to address the root causes of climate change. But climate change is a planetary problem – so who gets to decide what countries or groups are allowed to take the risk of geoengineering to fix it?
  • 99% Invisible: “417- For the Love of Peat” (October 2020, 40 min)
    When we think about carbon storage, we tend to think about forests, but peatlands are also incredible carbon sinks. How can we utilize peatlands to help combat climate change?
  • Imaginary Worlds: “Solarpunk the Future” (April 2020, 31 min)
    Solarpunk is an emerging genre of art and fiction that imagines a future where DIY environmental sustainability dictates the design of everything from skyscraper farms to homemade fashion.
  • Flash Forward: “EARTH: The Sunshade” (March 2019, 54 min)
    travel to a future where humanity decides to pull the climate emergency break, and spray sulphuric acid into the upper atmosphere.
  • Vox Conversations: “The geoengineering question” (December 2019, 1 hr 16 min)
    Can we (and should we) use geoengineering technologies to combat climate change? And what are the ethical and political implications if we did?

Recommended Books/Resources:

We’ve started compiling recommended books from the podcast playlists and from our chapter meetings on our Amazon Idea List.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something PBC may get a little something in return.

Conversation Starter Questions:

  1. Have you heard of any of these proposed geoengineering solutions before?
  2. How do you feel about using geoengineering to fix climate change? Should we move full force ahead or should we tread lightly?
  3. Of all of the proposed options, which do you think is the most minimally invasive? Which is the scariest?

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