July 31, 2009

White Roofs, Part II

After reporting yesterday on the geoengineering aspect of white roof construction, I thought I’d write to Felicity Barringer, the author of the New York Times piece that started the conversation, to let her know that she’d sparked a big debate at the CNAS Natural Security Blog.  Despite having what was sure to be a very full inbox (her article ranked number one on the Times’ most-emailed list Thursday), she was kind enough to take the time to write back.

The main motive for leaving geoengineering out of the discussion, she said, had to do with limitations of length.  Word restrictions indeed force reporters to make tough choices about what elements to leave in and which to keep out.  In the end, Ms. Barringer decided that the geoengineering component didn’t quite fit given the length limit.

My response yesterday only meant to help illuminate the vast complexity and interconnectedness of climate change solutions, and I was glad to hear that the geoengineering debate was part of the background behind the article, even if it didn’t make it into the final article.  As the process of promoting energy efficiency and confronting climate change in the United States continues, it will be important to foster dialogue over what science and policy issues are on the table, and conversations like the one I got to have with Ms. Barringer represent just that. This exchange was part of our decision to make geoengineering the topic of our weekly roundup, and I do hope that this week marks the beginning of a more serious debate about it.