Firstly, to emphasise that I have no expertise in SRM and do not advocate 
its use, but the following NAS report contains chapters on marine cloud 
brightening, as originally proposed by Latham, using salt water aerosols 
without special chemicals.       That does not mean that the technique is 
necessarily benign.


*Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth*

Committee on Geoengineering Climate:
Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Ocean Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

                          *OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES*

copyright 2015 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved

Albedo Modification by Marine Cloud Brightening 

Science Underlying the Marine Cloud-Brightening Concept 

Observations of Marine Cloud Brightening 

Proposed Mechanisms for Marine Cloud Brightening 

Challenges in the Implementation of Marine Cloud Brightening 

Modeled Climate System Responses to Marine Cloud Brightening 

Observational Requirements for Characterizing Marine Cloud Brightening 

Environmental Consequences of Marine Cloud Brightening 

Technical Feasibility of Marine Cloud Brightening 

Summary and Statement of Research Needs for Marine Cloud Brightening 

On Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 6:10:52 PM UTC, dankd wrote:
> Hi all, 
> I reached out to the authors of that paper on geoengineering and 
> capitalism.   With their permission, I'm forwarding the conversation.  
> Best, 
> Dan 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Daniel Kirk-Davidoff
> 35 Dove St. 
> <,+NY+12210518&entry=gmail&source=g>
> Albany, NY 12210 
> <,+NY+12210518&entry=gmail&source=g>
> 518-434-0873
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Gunderson, Ryan < <javascript:>>
> Date: Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 12:37 PM
> Subject: Re: Geoengineering and Capitalism
> To: Daniel Kirk-Davidoff < <javascript:>>
> Cc: Diana Lynne Stuart < <javascript:>>, Brian Craig 
> Petersen < <javascript:>>
> Hi Dan,
> You’re not boring me and I appreciate your suggestions and comments. I 
> think this will be become one of the most important discussions of the 21st 
> century. Though this may have to be my last email so I don’t distract 
> myself from research too much.
> Regarding the intentions of GE advocates and GE as a fringe science: I’m 
> surprised by your comment that most GE advocates identify as enemies of 
> the fossil fuel industry. I’m surprised for two reasons. First, this is not 
> a common theme in the case for GE. The research on framing is fairly 
> consistent: economics and techno frames are core, though I understand that 
> there are moral cases too. I wouldn’t be surprised if the frame you’re 
> pushing catches on: GE-is-a 
> tool-for-climate-justice-and-opposition-to-it-is-a-reflection-of-privilege. 
> Biotech pushes the same narrative. The second reason I’m surprised is it 
> seems that the fossil fuel industry is supportive of GE, given that they 
> fund many GE supporters (Hamilton 2013).
> One thing worth considering is that the concrete intentions of GE 
> scientists are relatively unimportant. But this requires a distinction 
> between subjective intentions and meaning-making, on the one hand, and 
> unintended outcomes and social structure on the other. For example, in the 
> unlikely case that every current GE scientist that reads our paper were 
> convinced that GE is a tool for the reproduction of capitalism and 
> detrimental to mitigation (though from your review of the listserv's 
> reception, this seems very unlikely), I bet other bodies and minds will 
> fill their roles for reasons argued in the paper. It may be a fringe 
> science now but it will only grow along with GDP and the burning of fossil 
> fuels. At the risk of sounding deterministic, I think SRM is almost fated 
> if capitalism lumbers on, regardless of, or even in spite of, the 
> intentions of GE scientists. To give a seemingly unrelated example. When I 
> teach a class my intention is to foster critical thinking skills, to pass 
> on facts about society and the environment, to get kids to look at the 
> world in new ways, etc. But perhaps what I’m actually doing, despite these 
> intentions, is creating the next generation of worker-consumers that are 
> punished if they don’t show up on time and follow directions.
> Regarding jargon and style/polemics: I’m genuinely sorry to hear that the 
> paper was cast off as jargony. We strive to make critical theory as clear 
> as possible. It’s a difficult tradition to digest, but that's the nature of 
> nearly all German philosophy and sociology. The distinction between essence 
> and appearance is older than Plato, it just takes a slightly different form 
> since Hegel.  Marcuse is firmly rooted in the Western tradition and 
> committed to the goals of the Enlightenment. The “this is silly pomo crap 
> so I’m going to read further” doesn’t fit. Historically, scientists have 
> read philosophy closely. If Einstein could regularly quote Spinoza and 
> Schopenhauer, I think GE scientists can take some time to think through new 
> concepts and arguments (technology embodies values, these values are 
> restricted by social structure, etc.). All GE advocates have an implicit 
> theory of technology even if they never justify it and it is taken to be 
> commonsense. Feenberg’s Questioning Technology is highly recommended for 
> engaging in the very long conversation about what technology is, exactly.
> I admit it is a polemical paper and am saddened if it was not read closely 
> due to the tone. However, I don’t mind if this just means it ruffled 
> feathers. I would be delighted if political economy became a central 
> concern of the GE debate.
> Regarding aid to the poor: Although this is an aside, it’s worth noting 
> that aid given to poor countries, and the reasons capital interacts with 
> poor countries at all, may be different than official narratives or our 
> commonsense.  If interested, check out world-systems research and 
> dependency theory. This is also a good example of why we should distinguish 
> between subjective intention and structure, and what is possible and what 
> is.
> Unless Diana and Brian object, you're more than welcome to forward our 
> conversation to that GE listserv you mentioned.  It may help clarify things 
> and, hopefully, encourage GE advocates to give it another read.  I assume 
> you won't edit the conversation and the like.
> Take care,
> Ryan
> --
> Ryan Gunderson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Sociology & Gerontology
> Miami University
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Jan 31, 2018, at 9:37 AM, Daniel Kirk-Davidoff < 
> <javascript:>> wrote:
> Hi Ryan, 
> You keep replying, so I'm going to take that as indication that I'm not 
> boring you too terribly.  This is obviously out of my expertise, and I will 
> not be offended when you decide that you've got better things to do.  
> I'm not a supporter of implementing solar radiation management.  What I'm 
> trying to accomplish in this dialog is to do my little bit to make the 
> conversation about geoengineering as productive as possible.  I heard about 
> your paper from a geoengineering email list that I skim but to which I 
> rarely contribute.  It was received derisively, I think because many of the 
> folks on the list who are geonengineering proponents view themselves as 
> part of a fight against the fossil fuel industry's role in our economy, and 
> saw your paper as a jargon-filled attack on the brave few willing to look 
> at the world with clear eyes, etc. etc. 
> At this point geoengineering is a fringe science activity.  If you wanted 
> to slow it down, convincing a few of the small numbers of people involved 
> to drop it, or somehow make it substantially more benign could have a big 
> impact.  So I'm suggest you think hard about that audience when you write.  
> That audience is probably more interested in SRM because they think it will 
> help poor people than because they think it will allow unrestrained capital 
> growth   
> The industrial world does spend a few billion dollars every year "helping" 
> poor farmers in various ways.  What if argument 2) is actually the stronger 
> rhetorical argument for SRM than 1)?  Argument 1) is laughable- there are a 
> whole lot of good substantive reasons about which you're well aware why a 
> plan to emit CO2 indefinitely while continuously ramping up SRM would be a 
> very dumb plan, even for the west (interruption risk,  ocean acidification, 
> precipitation changes that might be harmful to rich countries, etc.).   But 
> 2) (if it's true that SRM, on balance, and in isolation would help poor 
> farmers) could be compelling, and its cost would be consistent with other 
> "aid" efforts of the industrial world.  And it would have the "side" 
> benefit of making global warming less damaging to the rich world, at least 
> temporarily (leading to moral hazard).   So I think that understanding the 
> appeal of geoengineering to its backers via argument 2) is very important, 
> and understanding the truth of the underlying claim (that SRM would help 
> poor farmers) is also very important.    
> The moral hazard argument is very important to David Keith, at least, and 
> he's thought a lot about it.  But I think understanding the social dynamics 
> around that is really tough and potentially really interesting.  SRM would 
> have real aesthetic downsides (hazy skies) that people with food in their 
> bellies would notice.  Maybe if it were implemented it would act as a 
> visible sign of the cost of carbon pollution that would make people in rich 
> countries more, rather than less interested in rapid emissions reductions.  
> I know that's speculative, but how much actual evidence do we have about 
> how moral hazard works in this realm? 
> Best regards, 
> Dan 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Daniel Kirk-Davidoff
> 35 Dove St. 
> <,+NY+12210518&entry=gmail&source=g>
> Albany, NY 12210 
> <,+NY+12210518&entry=gmail&source=g>
> 518-434-0873
> On Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 10:47 PM, Gunderson, Ryan < 
> <javascript:>> wrote:
>> Hi Dan,
>> Again, I would actively support democratizing global climate governance.  
>> And I don’t doubt that my perspective is influenced by my social position. 
>> It’s an empirical question concerning what pathways and options would be 
>> chosen if power in decision-making was extended to the global public. An 
>> empirical question I hope I can see the answer to someday. My guess is 
>> mitigation, and I doubt we’d select the potentially catastrophic option.
>> Critics of GE are not asking for a "perfect" solution.  We're asking for 
>> more mitigation efforts. (I’m sure you want more mitigation too, but you’re 
>> also likely aware of the moral hazard argument against GE.) Mitigation 
>> would require social changes. Drawing attention to these alternatives and 
>> attempting to locate pathways to these alternatives are some of the goals 
>> of our research.
>> Another goal of our research is to explain why current structures carry 
>> on despite contradictions and the massive amounts of harm they cause. I 
>> think it is logical to make the case that GE will catch on precisely 
>> because it will act as a way to literally mask the problem and allow the 
>> system to reproduce itself.  For example, which of the following cases for 
>> GE do you think will have a real influence on those who will have the power 
>> to launch an SRM project?:
>> 1) This is a cheap and easy technology that allows us to keep making 
>> money and pumping GHGs.
>> 2) Let’s help the poor Bangladeshi farmers. 
>> You know the answer and Marcuse can help clarify why that’s the obvious 
>> answer - and asks us to figure out why it doesn’t have to be that way.
>> Would you send me the articles in which geoengineering advocates 
>> incorporate a theory of how capitalism operates and explicitly denounces 
>> the role of capital in squandering mitigation efforts?  Of course I'm being 
>> a bit sarcastic and mean here, but I have never seen a take like this 
>> (though I’m happy to be wrong here).  Again, our piece is an attempt to 
>> thrust this issue in the discussion.
>> One agreement we have is that GE may be the best system-maintenance 
>> strategy modern society can deliver.  If that's the case, I think the 
>> conclusion of our paper still holds.
>> Take care,
>> Ryan
>> --
>> Ryan Gunderson, Ph.D.
>> Assistant Professor
>> Department of Sociology & Gerontology
>> Miami University
>> On Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 9:06 PM, Daniel Kirk-Davidoff <
>> <javascript:>> wrote:
>>> Hi Ryan, 
>>> Thanks very much for your thoughtful reply.  I appreciate what I take to 
>>> be your central point, that a false economy that values some people's 
>>> suffering much less heavily that others undergirds a lot our discussions of 
>>> all kinds of policy and especially climate policy.   But what if the 
>>> impulse towards geoengineering comes not from an unconscious restriction of 
>>> the range of thought to that consistent with a capitalist worldview, but 
>>> rather from a despairing acknowledgement that the unjust arrangements of 
>>> power have already prevented us from taking the steps that a  just society 
>>> would have take 30 or 40 years ago that would have kept us from reaching 
>>> the current dilemma?   I don't think that many of us in the climate science 
>>> community are unaware of the role that capital has played in constraining 
>>> real action to reduce carbon emissions.    
>>> What if the objection to geoengineering comes from a perspective of 
>>> wealth and entitlement that says any solution less than perfection, any 
>>> solution that might expose pale-skinned northern rich people to a slight 
>>> additional risk of skin cancer, can't be considered, even if it would 
>>> relieve the suffering of millions of poor people caused by those pale 
>>> skinned northerners?   So not only will we refuse to substantially reduce 
>>> our carbon emissions at anything like the necessary speed, but we won't 
>>> even do the barest cheapest bit to stave off sealevel rise that will 
>>> inundate Bangladesh?   
>>> Best regards, 
>>> Dan 
>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> Daniel Kirk-Davidoff
>>> 35 Dove St. 
>>> <,+NY+12210518&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>> Albany, NY 12210 
>>> <,+NY+12210518&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>> 518-434-0873
>>> On Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 12:37 PM, Gunderson, Ryan < 
>>> <javascript:>> wrote:
>>>> Hi Dan,
>>>> Thank you for your email.
>>>> 1) About capitalism and the alternatives: I'm sure you know that there 
>>>> was and is a lot of discussion about what kind of political-economic thing 
>>>> the Soviet system was, whether it was "state capitalist," a "degenerated 
>>>> worker's state," "communism," etc.  One thing that is certain is that that 
>>>> model was ecologically unsustainable too.  But very few people want to 
>>>> bring that model back.   Any growth-dependent economy is likely 
>>>> unsustainable.   The reason we emphasize capitalism as the underlying 
>>>> issue 
>>>> that needs addressing is that most of the world is under the dictates of 
>>>> capital and capitalism is growth-dependent for systemic reasons.  If 
>>>> you're 
>>>> interested in this argument, one of the best analyses to date is still 
>>>> Schnaiberg's 1980 "The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity."  Some of 
>>>> the 
>>>> degrowth thinkers are pretty good about making this case as well (e.g., 
>>>> 2) About being unfair to Keith: It goes without saying that we didn't 
>>>> intend for our analysis to be a personal attack on Keith.  As of the 
>>>> content of his arguments and how they're treated in our paper, two points 
>>>> are relevant.  
>>>> First, this quote may address most of your concern:
>>>> "To be clear, our argument is not that economic and technological 
>>>> justifications for geoengineering are the only justifications, though, as 
>>>> shown in the literature above, economic and technological justifications 
>>>> are dominant modes of legitimation in the geoengineering agenda. We focus 
>>>> on economic and technological legitimations of geoengineering because we 
>>>> think these will register as the most valid and relevant justifications in 
>>>> policy-making and appeal to (a historically contingent) “commonsense”. We 
>>>> make the case that the prominence, validity, and relevance of these 
>>>> arguments can only be understood in a particular and contradictory social 
>>>> context."
>>>> Like the other arguments we critique, we focus on Keith's economic and 
>>>> technological justifications.  
>>>> Second, we do acknowledge that Keith is very aware of the risks and is 
>>>> sometimes uneasy in his support.
>>>> 3) Regarding the question about asking Bangladeshis about GE: My 
>>>> opinion is absolutely, there should be a much more democratic system of 
>>>> global climate governance, with GE likely being one proposal at some 
>>>> point.  This is a good entry point to speak to your comment about 
>>>> "appearance" and "essence," terms that I assume you're reasonably 
>>>> skeptical 
>>>> of due to their metaphysical haziness.  You're framing this choice as 
>>>> one between geoengineering or not geoengineering.  Are those the only 
>>>> options?  What else is *possible and more substantively rational 
>>>> *("essential")?  
>>>>  I can think of a handful economic policies and social programs that would 
>>>> be proposed in a more democratic governance of climate politics.  But 
>>>> this also means a willingness to ask Bangladeshis, in this example, 
>>>> all related alternative pathways in terms of mitigation and adaptation, 
>>>> not 
>>>> just "intervention."  In this example, this would include relocation to 
>>>> regions that are historically heavy polluters (i.e., that put them in 
>>>> their 
>>>> precarious situation in the first place) as well as having a say in the 
>>>> emissions targets of the first world.  If your response is "This isn't 
>>>> politically feasible," it is helpful to figure out why, exactly, this is 
>>>> not politically feasible.  That opens up what we think are some of the 
>>>> most 
>>>> important questions, many of which direct attention to undesirable power 
>>>> structures.  And many of which are ignored in the geoengineering debate. 
>>>> I hope this clarifies the paper some!  We really do appreciate your 
>>>> email and questions.
>>>> Take care,
>>>> Ryan
>>>> --
>>>> Ryan Gunderson, Ph.D.
>>>> Assistant Professor
>>>> Department of Sociology & Gerontology
>>>> Miami University
>>>> On Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 11:55 AM, Daniel Kirk-Davidoff <
>>>> <javascript:>> wrote:
>>>>> Thanks, Diana!  
>>>>> Hi Ryan,  I look forward to reading your thoughts. 
>>>>> Best regards, 
>>>>> Dan 
>>>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> Daniel Kirk-Davidoff
>>>>> 35 Dove St. 
>>>>> <,+NY+12210518&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>>>> Albany, NY 12210 
>>>>> <,+NY+12210518&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>>>> 518-434-0873
>>>>> On Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 11:50 AM, Diana Lynne Stuart <
>>>>> <javascript:>> wrote:
>>>>>> Dear Daniel, 
>>>>>> Thank you for your email. I have forwarded it to the first author of 
>>>>>> the article to respond. 
>>>>>> Best Wishes, 
>>>>>> Diana
>>>>>> Diana Stuart
>>>>>> Assistant Professor 
>>>>>> Sustainable Communities Graduate Program and
>>>>>> School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability
>>>>>> Northern Arizona University
>>>>>> <javascript:>
>>>>>> ------------------------------
>>>>>> *From:* Daniel Kirk-Davidoff < <javascript:>>
>>>>>> *Sent:* Saturday, January 27, 2018 2:48:44 PM
>>>>>> *To:* Diana Lynne Stuart
>>>>>> *Subject:* Geoengineering and Capitalism 
>>>>>> Dear Prof. Stuart,  
>>>>>> I enjoyed reading your recent article,  "A Critical Examination of 
>>>>>> Geoengineering: Economic and Technological Rationality in Social 
>>>>>> Context".  
>>>>>>  But I had a couple of questions about it.   First, I'm wondering what 
>>>>>> you 
>>>>>> think the definition of Capitalism ought to be.  I spent a little time 
>>>>>> in 
>>>>>> Hungary, Romania and East Germany before and just after the fall of 
>>>>>> their 
>>>>>> nominally Communist governments, and it seems pretty clear that a world 
>>>>>> where all governments were organized along those lines would have 
>>>>>> eventually reached high levels of atmospheric CO2.  It also seems hard 
>>>>>> to 
>>>>>> believe that those governments would have found it any easier to reduce 
>>>>>> the 
>>>>>> rate of material wealth accumulation for the sake of ecological health 
>>>>>> than 
>>>>>> our own.   So do we need a different word than Capitalism to describe 
>>>>>> the 
>>>>>> tendency  of human civilizations to prioritize growth over stability?   
>>>>>> Second, do you think you were fair to David Keith?  Full disclosure: 
>>>>>> he's a friend and colleague.  You quote him as saying the geoengineering 
>>>>>> would be "cheap and easy", but you don't address his actual moral 
>>>>>> arguments.  For example on page 139 of A Case for Climate Engineering, 
>>>>>> he 
>>>>>> points out that geoengineering and carbon emissions reductions "are not 
>>>>>> interchangeable alternatives."  Past emissions are already causing harms 
>>>>>> to 
>>>>>> present and future generations.  I'm working as hard as I can to help 
>>>>>> renewable energy replace fossil-fuel electrical generation (I forecast 
>>>>>> renewable generation for grid operators), but however hard we all work, 
>>>>>> at 
>>>>>> best we might get to much lower global levels of carbon emissions in 30 
>>>>>> or 
>>>>>> more years.    If pumping aerosols into the stratosphere would cause 
>>>>>> more 
>>>>>> good than harm for poor farmers (by counteracting the carbon dioxide 
>>>>>> that 
>>>>>> industrial civilization has dumped into their atmosphere for the past 
>>>>>> 150 
>>>>>> years),  David's saying we have a moral obligation to do that,  while we 
>>>>>> also do everything we can to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.    
>>>>>> Why is that wrong?   Let's say we win the political argument next 
>>>>>> year, and in a beautiful revolution, lead the world to rapidly 
>>>>>> reorganize 
>>>>>> around meaningful work, sustainable agriculture, housing and 
>>>>>> transportation, open borders and  mutual cultural respect.  On that 
>>>>>> great 
>>>>>> day, wouldn't we still want to protect subsistence farmers in Bangladesh 
>>>>>> from the sea level rise and heat stress that CO2 we've already put into 
>>>>>> the 
>>>>>> air will cause?  If repurposing some military aircraft to put non-ozone 
>>>>>> depleting aerosols into the stratosphere  would accomplish that, why 
>>>>>> would 
>>>>>> Marcusian analysis argue against that?   Shouldn't we ask the 
>>>>>> Bangladeshi 
>>>>>> farmers?  If they wanted that step taken, would it because they were 
>>>>>> confused about appearance and essence?  
>>>>>> In solidarity, 
>>>>>> Dan Kirk-Davidoff
>>>>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>> Daniel Kirk-Davidoff
>>>>>> Adjunct Associate Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science
>>>>>> U. Maryland
>>>>>> Lead Research Scientist, AWS Truepower LLC 
>>>>>> 35 Dove St. 
>>>>>> <,+NY+12210%0D+518&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>>>>> Albany, NY 12210 
>>>>>> <,+NY+12210+%3C,%2BNY%2B12210518%26entry%3Dgmail%26source%3Dg%3E518&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>>>>> 518-434-0873
> -- 
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Daniel Kirk-Davidoff
> Adjunct Associate Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science
> University of Maryland 
> College Park, MD 20742

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