The risks of global warming are pressing and potentially vast. The difficulty of doing without fossil fuels is daunting, possibly even insurmountable. So there is an urgent need to rethink our responses to the crisis. To meet that need, a small but increasingly influential group of scientists is exploring proposals for planned human intervention in the climate system: a stratospheric veil against the sun, the cultivation of photosynthetic plankton, fleets of unmanned ships seeding the clouds. These are the technologies of geoengineering—and as Oliver Morton argues in this visionary book, it would be as irresponsible to ignore them as it would be foolish to see them as a simple solution to the problem.
The Planet Remade explores the history, politics, and cutting-edge science of geoengineering. Morton weighs both the promise and perils of these controversial strategies and puts them in the broadest possible context. The past century’s changes to the planet—to the clouds and the soils, to the winds and the seas, to the great cycles of nitrogen and carbon—have been far more profound than most of us realize. Appreciating those changes clarifies not just the scale of what needs to be done about global warming, but also our relationship to nature.
Climate change is not just one of the twenty-first century’s defining political challenges. Morton untangles the implications of our failure to meet the challenge of climate change and reintroduces the hope that we might. He addresses the deep fear that comes with seeing humans as a force of nature, and asks what it might mean—and what it might require of us—to try and use that force for good.
Oliver Morton is briefings editor at the Economist, and his writing has appeared in leading publications such as the New Yorker and National Geographic. He is the author of Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet and Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World. He lives in London.
"[I]f you are going to read one book on climate engineering, it should be The Planet Remade. . . . [The book] is as much an exploration of science and engineering as it is of people and attitudes."--Jane C.S. Long, Nature
"Morton offers a calm, rational discussion of deliberate technological interventions to cool the planet’s climate system. . . . An important account of cutting-edge research that will fascinate serious readers and demand the attention of policymakers."--Kirkus (Starred Review)
"[An] ambitious, enthralling, and slightly strange book."--Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
"Morton accomplishes the difficult task of explaining high-level scientific concepts in pragmatic terms, with enough history, first-person reporting, anecdotes, and humor that The Planet Remade is as enjoyable to read as it is informative."--Foreword Reviews
"Through pages of rigorous scientific groundwork wrapped in elegant prose, Morton provides a guided tour of why we need geoengineering. . . . The Planet Remade is a delightful introduction to the seemingly absurd proposals that could be our fragile world’s final hope."--Science News
"Oliver Morton produced 2015's most important and insightful book about the environment in The Planet Remade. . . . Several people who should know better argued this year that humanity needs to adopt a more 'religious' view of climate change. It does not. What it needs is books by Oliver Morton."--Richard Benson, The Independent
"[A] dizzying, exhausting, exhilarating read."--New Scientist
"Morton affords us a fascinating look at the perils and promise of geoengineering on a warming planet."--Wan Lixin, Shanghai Daily
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