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How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth's Climate

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Right now, a group of scientists is working on ways to minimize the catastrophic impact of global warming. But they’re not designing hybrids or fuel cells or wind turbines. They’re trying to lower the temperature of the entire planet. And they’re doing it with huge contraptions that suck CO2 from the air, machines that brighten clouds and deflect sunlight away from the ear ...more
Kindle Edition, 273 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2010)
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Are you a good citizen? Really? Well, good for you, sunshine. I don't think I'm a good citizen--well, not the best citizen I can be. I mean, I've been in the Air Force for 14 years, and have at least another 6 years at minimum. My salary comes from your taxes. And for that salary I'm happy to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, so there's no conscription or mandatory service for you or my kids. My family endures long periods of time without me while I'm overseas, in austere conditions, and in harm's ...more
Jul 10, 2014 Kendra rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Skeptics & environmentalists
To be absolutely truthful, I finished Jeff Goodell's How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth's Climatethree weeks ago, before all of the end of semester hullabaloo took over my life. It's a relatively easy and quick read, but I'll admit: I'm a skeptic. Not an global-warming-denier kind of skeptic, but a humans-can-fix-the-world skeptic. No matter where you sit on the spectrum of thinkers on climate change and its cause(s), the statistics don't lie: the world ...more
How to Cool the Planet blew my mind with a previously unknown topic: geoengineering. Goodell soberly presents the arguments for and against this cutting edge science, showing clearly that geoengineering is actually nothing new, and that by denying scientists the opportunity to research technologies that could cool the planet, bring rains to dry land, or increase the carbon intake of oceans through phytoplankton blooms, we could be failing to develop the real remedies in a future climate crisis. ...more
An entertaining, informative, sobering, balanced read. Less one star on account of some repetitive editorializing. Heady stuff to contemplate. Rather terrifying that we need to seriously consider mass environmental engineering projects like the ones this book describes. Obvious that we do. My proposal: scatter three trillion tons of N.Y. Times confetti (uniformly coating the earth's landmass) and release 2 billion white balloons into the upper atmosphere. (Spread 8 quintillion tons of mayonnaise ...more
Riku Sayuj
Dec 31, 2014 Riku Sayuj marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

Geo-Engineering or Cosmic Protectionism

“We are capable of shutting off the sun and the stars because they do not pay a dividend.”

~ John Maynard Keynes, 1933

We must recognize the limits to protectionism, especially when applied to protect rival goods against competition from non-rival goods.

Frédéric Bastiat’s classic satire, “Petition of the Candlemakers Against the Sun”, is given new relevance by demands for Geoengineering.

Written in 1845 in defense of free trade and against national protectio
A provocative book, ably explores the myriad issues surrounding planetary climate geoengineering. Goodell quickly surveys various options for capturing carbon (his take: likely to be fairly slow) and reducing sunlight absorption, and concludes that these options are extremely powerful, extremely uncertain in their impact, and extremely cheap - we're talking cheap enough for individual billionaires to pull off. Given this context it is natural for him to spend much time thinking about social, cul ...more
Emily Cahill
Basically what this book is trying to do is to engage as many people as possible with the issue of using geoengineering techniques to lessen the effects of climate change. When I first picked it up I thought the chances of anyone being able to do these techniques was really small. I had heard of techniques such as planting trees or growing masses of plankton in the oceans to capture carbon. But I had not heard of the techniques people are working on to make the earth's atmosphere more reflective ...more
A really good primer on the bizarro, but increasingly relevant world of geoengineering. Through methods such as cloud seeding, particle injection into the stratosphere, and iron fertilization of the ocean, geoengineering represents the technical, god-complex approach to cooling the climate. A few years ago these technologies were largely written off as the sole realm of fringe scientists and industries willing to consider any temperature-reduction scheme other than actually reducing emissions. H ...more
Paul Childs
This book is kinda interesting. The geo-engineering technologies are described in some detail as well as some of the scientists behind the ideas.

The author seems to be enamored with some of the technological solutions, but is still objective enough in order to see that there are a lot of negatives or unknowns that accompany each idea.

The biggest questions about this book and the technologies is are we too late to prevent the worst of global warning or can we still realistically cut back in time
Adam  McPhee
A good overview of the subject. Looks at interesting projects in the field such as a carbon sequestering device (built at the university of Calgary), a rogue attempt at ocean fertilization, and attempts to manipulate Earth's albedo via cloud brightening. Sidetrips into 19th century rainmakers and contemporary chemtrail conspiracists seem a bit tangential.
Goodell tells the tales of scientists and entrepreneurs who think they can fix the climate by engineering the Earth system itself. One of them, Ken Caldiera, was my office mate at the Penn State Earth System Science Center. I can hear Ken's words throughout Goodell's reporting. Some fascinating ideas are on display in this book. It allows me to appreciate truly big ideas which aren't in the field of Information Technology. "How to Cool the Planet" is a great read.
This book getes to grip with the "unthinkable"--geoengineering to cool the globe, using methods such as increasing albedo in clouds or seeding the stratosphere with sulfur oxide, as well as putting iron into the oceans. Some are zany and obviously won't work. A good read, if you want to
know the alternative to global warming. Cutting CO2 emissions to almost nothing won't work.
Jeppe Haarsted
Good introduction to the topic of geoengineering. Briefly describes the main technologies but this is basically a book about the ethical and moral concerns about geoengineering. Makes a good argument for why we cannot simply dismiss geoengineering but must understand the science better - fast.
Goodell explores the science, politics, financial and moral aspects of geoengineering as a way to cool the planet - as well as making the reader aware that our attempts to cut CO2 may not be too little too late. A must read for everyone concerned about life on our planet!
See my review of this book, along with Eli Kintisch's Hack the Planet: "The Geoengineering Genie"
Sobering read....geoengineering is starting to gain momentum as we must consider far reaching opportunities to reverse global warming
Mitch Allen
Ambitious but doesn't succeed. It is provocative and contributes some great ideas, but more noise than signal.
Excellent, coherent read; both a thrill to read while also being very informative.
A helpful, very accessible introduction to geoengineering and climate intervention.
Eric Roston
My review in Bloomberg Businessweek:
Dec 01, 2010 Art marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
recommended by Marsha/booklist online
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Jeff Goodell's latest book is How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth's Climate, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2010.

His previous book, Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future, was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2006 by Kirkus Reviews. The New York Times called it, “a compelling indictment of one of the country’s bigg
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