The future of the planet is on the table as policymakers and environmental advocates gear up for the next major UN conference in Rio de Janeiro, on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 "Earth Summit" in mid-June. Expectations for the Rio+20 meeting are understandably low, given the recent history of climate change meetings in Copenhagen and Durban. The reasons for this failure are also clear: while a "global deal" to reduce global carbon emissions will clearly benefit everyone in the long run, such an agreement appears to fly in the face of countries' (especially developing countries) short-term economic growth goals.
The media often describes geoengineering — large-scale deliberate interference in the climate system — as Plan B for the planet, a last resort should political negotiations to curb greenhouse gas emissions fail.
Almost by default this makes the UN’s Rio+20 summit in June Plan A for Planet Earth. So, is Plan A any good?