Hacking Planet Earth: How Geoengineering Can Help Us Reimagine the Future

Thomas Kostigen. Tarcher, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-18754-8
Journalist Kostigen (Extreme Weather) reviews dozens of projects designed to mitigate global warming’s deleterious effects in this stimulating survey. Some of the plans—solar and wind farms—are quotidian, but others—a laser that can make it rain, an outer space parasol that would deflect the sun’s energy before it reaches Earth, and metal trees that capture carbon emissions—stretch the imagination. Joven Santos’s whimsical sketches and Kostigen’s interviews with the “mad geniuses” behind these bizarre ideas together provide food for thought and cause for optimism that some climate disasters might be avoided. Some of the projects, such as shingles made with “smog-reducing granules,” get only a brief mention as Kostigen casts a wide net, exploring projects throughout the globe, in China, Morocco, and elsewhere. What’s missing are reality checks, such as how much investment would be needed to put these prototypes into action and how effective they would be. Some ideas—for example, a Brazilian tunnel project to move water over hundreds of miles to drought-prone regions—sound potentially more environmentally harmful than useful. Overall, though, this is an intriguing overview of what science and engineering could do to help keep the planet livable. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/12/2019
Release date: 03/24/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-525-53835-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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