How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth's Climate

Jeff Goodell, Author . Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $26 (262p) ISBN 978-0-618-99061-0

Goodell (Big Coal ) investigates the viability of geoengineering: ambitious, mostly unproven strategies to “deliberately engineer the earth's climate to counteract global warming.” Despite his promise to avoid the “wacky ideas proposed by wannabe geoengineers,” Goodell has trouble avoiding eccentric characters like Edward Teller's protégé, flamboyant Lowell Wood, nicknamed “Dr. Evil,” and such grandiose and questionable schemes as ocean fertilization, that raise the question: “at what point does the urgent and heroic goal of fixing the planet become just another excuse to make a quick buck?” Even a down-to-earth scientist like David Keith, whose machine extracts carbon dioxide from the air, estimates that an optimized system would still require thousands of these “scrubbers,” with costs around $150 per ton of CO2. In a genre dominated by doomsday scenarios, Goodell's treatment is refreshingly lighthearted, but two questions haunt him: “what kind of person dreams of engineering the entire planet? And can we trust him?” He warns, “[T]echnology has taken us farther away from nature, not drawn us closer to it,” and his provocative account achieves a fine balance between the inventor's enthusiasm and the scientist's skepticism. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/08/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-0-547-52023-0
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-547-48713-7
Prebound-Glued - 262 pages - 978-1-61383-597-5
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