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Earth911 Podcast: Wake Smith Opens Pandora’s Toolbox for Climate Change

Earth911 Podcast: Wake Smith Opens Pandora’s Toolbox for Climate Change

Wake Smith, author of Pandora’s Toolbox: The Hopes and Hazards of Climate Intervention, shares his assessment of the climate response and the strategies and technologies that can be used to end CO2 emissions and restore the planet to pre-industrial climate conditions. He is a lecturer on climate interventions at Yale and a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Smith explains that we’re not making sufficient progress on reaching net-zero before very late this century and why new institutions are needed to guide policy toward climate goals before parts of the world become barren and unhabitable for humans. Once we reach net-zero CO2 emissions, we face centuries of effort to return to the environment in which our species evolved.

Wake Smith, author of Pandora's Toolbox,
Wake Smith, author of Pandora’s Toolbox, is our guest on Sustainability in Your Ear. Source: Harvard Kennedy School

We also discuss carbon capture and sequestration and a form of solar geoengineering, stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), which involves sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to deflect the sun’s energy. Wake does not advocate extreme measures but urges nations to support research into SAI and other technology that could be deployed to ensure human survival.

Smith’s comments on how our descendants may feel about us and what he’s learned from his students about the importance of tying actions to consequences will get you thinking: Are we doing enough? Is the world we are entering governable with today’s institutions? Pandora’s Toolbox is available on Amazon and at Powell’s Books.

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