Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Idea of restoring 'natural systems' misses mark as response to climate change challenges, expert argues

Date:
February 25, 2010
Source:
Arizona State University
Summary:
Approaches to formulating geoengineering solutions to global environmental challenges such as climate change are often too one-dimensional, an Arizona expert argues. They fail to move beyond a technical framework and deal with the many societal, cultural and ethical issues that will arise in any large-scale efforts to alter or counteract atmospheric and climate conditions, he says.

The adage says that to discover the right solutions to a problem you first have to ask the right questions.

As Arizona State University engineering professor Brad Allenby sees it, our search for technological solutions to large-scale environmental problems sometimes gets off on the wrong track largely because we're posing the wrong questions.

Particularly in the debates about how to respond to atmospheric greenhouse gas buildup, climate change and humankind's impact on the global environment, Allenby says, "We are often framing the discussion from narrow and overly simplistic perspectives, but what we are dealing with are systems that are highly complex. As a result, the policy solutions we come up with don't match the challenges we are trying to respond to."

Allenby offered his recommendations for reframing the approach to such challenges in his Feb. 19 presentation, "Technological Change and Earth Systems: A Critique of Geoengineering," at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Allenby is a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, a part of ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He's founding director of the Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management, and chair of the Consortium on Emerging Technologies, Military Operations, and National Security. He's also a professor of ethics and engineering in ASU's Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics.

Geoengineering focuses on designs for large-scale environmental engineering to influence or counteract such things as climate or atmospheric changes.

One misstep in such endeavors is that we are searching for solutions that will restore natural systems. But Allenby contends that "the planet no longer has purely natural systems. What we have is an integrated natural-human environment, one shaped over centuries by a combination of natural factors and technological evolution."

The questions in which we must frame discussion of potential geoengineering solutions should be grounded in awareness of this reality, he says.

"Responding to something like climate change is not just a scientific and technical matter," he says. "Whatever attempted solutions we chose, or reject, will have significant cultural and ethical implications."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Arizona State University. "Idea of restoring 'natural systems' misses mark as response to climate change challenges, expert argues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100219115346.htm>.
Arizona State University. (2010, February 25). Idea of restoring 'natural systems' misses mark as response to climate change challenges, expert argues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100219115346.htm
Arizona State University. "Idea of restoring 'natural systems' misses mark as response to climate change challenges, expert argues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100219115346.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 21, 2014) Bank of America's settlement is by far the largest amount paid by big banks facing mortgage securities probes. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A CDC report says birth rates among teenagers have been declining for decades, reaching a new low in 2013. We look at several popular explanations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins