Geoengineering is often accused of falling prey to techno-optimism—that technology will get us out of this anthropocenic mess. A lot of proposals seem to have walked off the pages of a dystopian novel, existing only to prop up a destructive and unequal society. But do we need to diversify our strategy and accept these compromises just to buy time over the coming decades?
This week, physicist and engineer Ye Tao introduces Meer, the mirror rays project which he says could halt global warming, buying humanity the necessary time to combat the climate crisis. He explains how Meer could cool the planet while decreasing energy demands, and improving water retention and food resources.
But Ye is far from a techno-optimist. Whilst he thinks geoengineering could win us some battles, he believes dismantling power structures and our capitalist economy is key to winning the long-term war. He explains we’re locked onto a heating trajectory of at least 2 degrees Celcius, meaning we must deploy technologies to cool the planet. Once we’ve figured that out, he says we then must turn our attention to improving society for everyone—and offers a fascinating proposal to metric human progress.
This episode involves some serious science and I hope you all enjoy it. Listen to the full interview here, catch it on on Apple or Spotify, or watch on Youtube. You’ll find the bonus episode on Youtube over the weekend, and paid subscribers have access to the interview transcript.