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The New Yorker recently called George the first geo-vigilante,"implying he fought for justice when the system failed us. But was he frustrated in his pursuit of knowledge or just exploiting a loophole?
"Scientists still aren't sure what they can and can't do," Blackstock says. "You do end up in cases where somebody says, you know what, I'm just gonna go do it, even within the U.S. What Russ George has done is taken that to an extreme. A big extreme."
"Ten years ago everything in geoengineering looked like a mad-scientist idea," he continues. "Frankly, I still wake up some days and see this stuff and I go, seriously—we must be nuts. I mean, spraying aerosols into the upper atmosphere to cool the planet—this is terraforming. This is science fiction. And yet it is really a question... of how they go about it, not the idea itself."
Blackstock suggests two criteria for judging geoengineers. First, is their experimental design solid? And second, are they working toward the public good? (Caldeira advocates the classic "follow the money" rule for the second point.)
In George's case, the risks were small: Even though he dumped 200 times more iron than any previous experiment, Caldeira says, George's experiment would have to be done at a much, much larger scale to have any noticeable effect on the atmosphere. It wasn't particularly useful as a proof-of-concept test, either. Blackstock says: "There ain't no way that they're collecting enough data to make an experiment of this scale worthwhile, with that small number of people and resources."
As for following the money, George is a self-professed scientist, but most publications call him a businessman, and he stood to make a profit from ocean fertilization with carbon credits. Ostensibly, geoengineering could work toward global public good as well, if it manages to offset climate change without doing more harm in the process.
And that's why some researchers worry about Bond villains and billionaires going rogue. Whether geoengineering can really combat climate change—and do so without horrific unintended consequences—is an ongoing, contentious debate. But it's one that a mad scientist with enough money could circumvent.
Originally posted by Uncinus
The article is interesting enough as is. But I think from a conspiracy theory point of view, this type of international outcry from the science community is pretty good evidence that if there's a covert geoengineering project going on, then the scientists don't know anything about it. And seeing as that's highly unlikely, I think it's pretty good evidence that there is no covert geoengineering project.