The Planet Remade

How Geoengineering Could Change the World

Oliver Morton

Published: 7 July 2016
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 448 pages
ISBN: 9781783780983


The risks of global warming are real, and potentially vast. The difficulty of doing without fossil fuels is daunting, and possibly insurmountable. So there is an urgent need for new thinking on climate change. To meet that need, a small but increasingly influential group of scientists is exploring proposals for planned human intervention in the climate system. A stratospheric veil against the sun; the cultivation of photosynthetic plankton; a fleet of unmanned ships seeding clouds: these are the radical technologies of climate geoengineering. It is chilling to think of such power, and such scope for misadventure or malice, in humans hands. And yet we are now at the point where we have no choice but to take them very seriously indeed.

The Planet Remade explores the science, history and politics behind these strategies. It looks at who might want to see geoengineering put to use - and why others would be dead set against it. In the last two centuries, changes to the planet - to the clouds and soils, to the winds and the seas, to the great cycles of nitrogen and carbon - have been far more profound than most of us realize. Appreciating the scale of that change compels us to rethink not just our responses to global warming, but our relationship to nature. With sensitivity, insight and expert science, Oliver Morton unpicks the moral implications of climate change, our fear that people have become a force of nature, and what it might mean to try and use that force for good. The Planet Remade is about imagining a world where people take care instead of taking control.

About the author

Image of Oliver Morton

Oliver Morton is Environment Editor of the Economist, having formerly been Chief News Editor of Nature and Editor-in-Chief of Wired. He is the author of Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World and Eating the Sun: How Light Powers the Planet and has written for many publications, including Nature, the Independent, National Geographic, the New Yorker, Newsweek, Prospect, and Wired. Asteroid 10716 Olivermorton is named for him. More about the author


‘[A] fascinating, thoroughly researched and exceedingly convincing book’



‘[A] fascinating, thoroughly researched and exceedingly convincing book’

‘[A] timely book... intriguing and persuasive’ Robin McKie

‘[It] most successfully balances the difficult business of raising alarm... with proposals for the types of action we need to take now’ Robin McKie

‘2015's most important and insightful book about the environment’ Richard Benson, Books of the Year

‘Ambitious [and] enthralling... Eloquently, Morton anatomises the idea [of geoengineering] itself’ Bryan Appleyard

‘An important account of cutting-edge research that will fascinate serious readers and demand the attention of policymakers'’ Kirkus (starred review)

‘Deeply rooted in history and smartly optimistic about the future, this is-by far-the best book yet on geoengineering’ David Keith, Harvard University and author

‘If you are going to read one book on climate engineering, it should be [this]... For a potentially harrowing topic, serendipity and fun abound. Plentiful and erudite footnotes are richly entertaining. [It is] too important to be reserved for experts’ Jane C.S. Long

‘Morton delivers complex information in an easy, conversational style that is a pleasure to follow... engaging’ Robert Mayhew

‘Morton gives a comprehensive, in-depth and highly readable discussion of geo-engineering and its wider context... [Focusing] more on the actual workings of the climate system [he] elevate[s] the book beyond the mere imparting of information... Morton has put one of the options firmly on the table - the world can either take it or leave it, but it can no longer put off considering it.’ Richard Betts

‘Oliver Morton displays here again the usual virtues of his writing, which include a sparkling clarity maintained even when conveying huge complex masses of information, often about topics new to all of us; and then, even more importantly, good judgment... All these abilities are now devoted to perhaps the crucial question of our time, the climate, making this simply a Necessary Book, which is also a pleasure to read... an excellent way to get oriented to our most pressing environmental problem, and I urge people to read it and ponder its news’ Kim Stanley Robinson

‘One of the most important and provocative books I've read in years. The Planet Remade is essential for policy makers, environmentalists, skeptics and anyone else who prefers their views on climate change to be based on evidence, rather than rhetoric’ Hari Kunzru

‘Written with the grace and clarity its subject demands, The Planet Remade offers just what the issue of climate change needs: fresh thinking about what can be done, based on deep respect for the planet, the science, and the concerns of people with differing points of view. It's an enriching addition to the literature of possible worlds’ Marek Kohn

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