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brad plumer
This new Nature paper on solar geoengineering and crop yields is quite interesting, although some of the coverage of it has not been great: /1
Analysis of the El Chichón and Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruptions suggests that solar radiation management strategies using stratospheric sulfate aerosols would do little to counterbalance the effects...
Nature News & Comment Nature News & Comment @NatureNews
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
The basic argument of the paper is that future global warming is expected to be bad for crop yields worldwide and those harms might be difficult to minimize through solar geoengineering alone. /2
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
Why? If we put aerosol particles into the atmosphere to reflect more sunlight into space, that could slow the rise in global temperatures — good for crops. But it could also lead to less sunlight hitting Earth — bad for crops. Those two effects, the study says, balance out. /3
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
Now, this clearly isn't an argument *against* using solar geoengineering to mitigate global warming. Geoengineering might still have other benefits elsewhere (say, reducing heat waves or protecting glaciers). Or risks! The *only* contention here is that it's neutral for crops. /4
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
That said, this paper isn't the last word on the crop question. It relies on data from past volcanic eruptions, which are not a perfect analogue for most geoengineering ideas. See this thread for other critiques: /5
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
What's more, the paper doesn't look at how solar geoengineering might affect things like drought frequency — it's possible there could be additional benefits for crops there. Or maybe additional risks! Can't say for sure. /6
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @GernotWagner
Anyway, has the most accurate headline for this study, though sadly it's not very sexy: "Important new research points to importance of more research." Some of the other headlines have been bad or outright misleading, like so: /7
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @CarbonBrief
Obviously there are exceptions. always does a fantastic job of coverage and I'm sure I've missed other good stories: /8
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
(fwiw, I'm undecided on solar geoengineering myself. We've committed the planet to so much global warming at this point that it seems crazy not to at least consider it in conjunction with emissions cuts. But there are still soooo many questions. /end)
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James Temple Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
Yes! Was just making similar points over here:
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @jtemple
totally agree (though this doesn't seem like the last word on the food question anyway)
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Gernot Wagner Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
Sadly, it may be the most accurate headline for almost any study.
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @GernotWagner
i feel like it's more true for some studies than others, but that could easily be journalistic bias!
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Gernot Wagner Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
Fair enough. And my researcher's bias will always be for more research. I believe we're even.
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Geoengineering Info Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
Neutral, not bad. And ignores CO2 fertilisation and consequently reduced water stress
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @geoengineering1
i really don't think "global warming is expected to be neutral for crop yields" is a good summary of the literature
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Geoengineering Info Aug 9
Replying to @bradplumer
Sorry, my bad. CE neutral - it was widely misreported as CE bad. But CO2 fertilisation and agricultural adaptation (mainly different crops) may mean AGW globally beneficial or less harmful than expected. Lots of steppe and boreal forest may be newly farmable.
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @jneeley78
in what way? CO2 concentrations would presumably be the same in both the geoengineering and no geoengineering scenarios.
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brad plumer Aug 9
Replying to @jneeley78
isn't that what i just said? i guess i don't understand the question...
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Andrew Revkin Aug 10
Replying to @bradplumer
Great string and references on new Nature paper on solar shade geoengineering and crops. My uberthoughts unchanged since here:
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