the planet remade

  • author: oliver morton
  • ISBN: 9780691148250

overview - initial notes

the premise - yes, the world is going to see significant impacts from climate change and that these risks are worthy of addressing and yes, moving off of carbon based energy (read, fossil fuels) will be incredibly difficult. so, what are you going to do about it?

misc. notes

  • termination shock - as a term is a legit thing. this is the first book that i’ve seen outside of stephenson’s book that spells out what’s going on with this and the larger concerns. while stephenson is content to gloss over the impacts associated with this. (seriously, if it covered more than a page or two in total across the book, i’d be shocked.) it’s clear that it’s a real concern and that the modeling supports the notion that we’d need to keep whatever geo-engineering is in flight (assuming you can get it done with a reasonable amount of effect) in order to prevent other bad (read, even less predictable) shit from taking place
  • there’s an interesting political dynamic that is touched upon on chapter 3 around the concern that the political right will flip on their stance wrt climate change and immediately push for geo-engineering in some form. i’m not sure that i parse how this is a strategy, particularly with the rampant science denialism and expertise burning that the right seems to engage in, but it’s worth attempting to wrap ones head around it.
  • a considerable amount of the book is spent discussing the various ways in which we have already been (unwittingly) geo-engineering the planet. these examples run the gamut from the haber-bosch process for nitrogen fixation and the advent of manufactured fertilizers to the effects that pollution have on the weather and downstream climate.


an interesting thing that i learned was that the pollution from north america in the 1970s-1980s is now thought to have contributed to the droughts in the sahel in the1980s. it will be interesting to see if, as we better understand the knock-on effects of pollution in remote locales whether or not there will be a desire to seek settlement/restitution in various international bodies.


  • location: Lanesboro, MN
  • weather: ☀️(Sunny) -1°F