Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Comment
  • Published:

Climate engineering needs a clean bill of health

Climate change will almost certainly cause millions of deaths. Climate engineering might prevent this, but benefits — and risks — remain mostly unevaluated. Now is the time to bring planetary health research into climate engineering conversations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: A risk–risk framework for assessing the potential health impacts of climate engineering.


  1. Rogelj, J. et al. Nature 534, 631–639 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration (National Research Council, National Academies, 2015).

  3. Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth (National Research Council, National Academies, 2015).

  4. Subcommittee on Environment and Subcommittee on Energy Hearing — Geoengineering: Innovation, Research, and Technology (SST Committee, 2017);

  5. Keith, D. W. & MacMartin, D. G. A temporary, moderate and responsive scenario for solar geoengineering. Nat. Clim. Change 5, 201–206 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Tilmes, S., Sanderson, B. M. & O’Neill, B. C. Climate impacts of geoengineering in a delayed mitigation scenario. Geophys. Res. Lett. 43, 8222–8229 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. McClellan, J., Keith, D. W. & Apt, J. Environ. Res. Lett. 7, 034019 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Yu, X. et al. Glob. Planet. Change 129, 10–22 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Keller, D. P. et al. Geosci. Model Dev. 11, 1133 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Eastham, S. D., Weisenstein, D. K., Keith, D. W. & Barrett, S. R. Atmos. Environ. 187, 424–434 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Trisos, C. H. et al. in Resilience: The Science of Adaptation to Climate Change (eds Zommers, Z. & Alverson, K.) 291–303 (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2018).

  12. Tilmes, S. et al. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. (2018).

  13. Mordecai, E. A. et al. Ecol. Lett. 16, 22–30 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Pascual, M., Bouma, M. J. & Dobson, A. P. Microbes Infect. 4, 237–245 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Agier, L. et al. J. R. Soc. Interface 10, 20120814 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Trisos, C. H. et al. Nat. Ecol. Evol. 2, 475 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Fuss, S. et al. Environ. Res. Lett. 13, 063002 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Caminade, C. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 114, 119–124 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Frank, S. et al. Environ. Res. Lett. 12, 105004 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Xun, W. W., Khan, A. E., Michael, E. & Vineis, P. Int. J. Pub. Health 55, 85–96 (2010).

  21. Pasztor, J., Scharf, C. & Schmidt, K.-U. Science 357, 231 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center under funding received from the National Science Foundation (grant no. DBI-1639145).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Colin J. Carlson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Carlson, C.J., Trisos, C.H. Climate engineering needs a clean bill of health. Nature Clim Change 8, 843–845 (2018).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing