Geoengineering Studied as Climate Change Solution
Risks and Rewards Weighed in Fall Edition of Issues in Science and Technology
Oct. 5, 2010
Like it or not, a climate change emergency is possible, and various approaches collectively called geoengineering could be the only affordable and fast-acting ways to avoid a catastrophe, according to an article in the fall Issues in Science and Technology.
According to authors Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution and David Keith of the University of Calgary, world leaders may at some point be compelled to act to prevent further global warming.
Yet the available engineering options to mitigate climate change would involve intervening in Earth’s climate system on a grand scale, with the potential for great harm. They urge the United States to mount a coordinated research program to study the various geoengineering options to ensure that damaging ones are not deployed in haste.
Also in the Fall Issues, Harvard health care economist David Cutler asks: Where are the health care entrepreneurs?
“Health care in the United States is notorious for market imperfections,” Cutler writes. “Costs are higher and outcomes worse than almost all analyses of the industry suggest are reasonable. Indeed, few other industries perform worse than health care in serving their consumers. In other industries characterized by inefficiency, efficient firms expand to take over the market, or new firms enter to eliminate inefficiencies. But such organizational innovation has been rare in health care. Two main barriers stand in the way: lack of good information on health care quality and the dominance of payment systems that reward volume of care rather than its value.”
Cutler proposes a number of actions that can help to promote innovation and entrepreneurship and in the process improve the performance and lower the costs.
The fall Issues in Science and Technology also includes articles on whether the so-called smart electrical grid is really a smart idea; the need to transform education during the primary years, between the age of three and the third grade; the dismal state of U.S. biofuels policy; the Obama administration’s controversial decision to abandon a proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; and the need to strengthen global governance as more developing countries without nuclear experience seek nuclear power.
Issues in Science and Technology is the award-winning journal of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and the University of Texas at Dallas.