GeoRestoration Concept

Current situation and terminology

The masterminds in Climate-politics become increasingly aware of the fact that the current strategy will not achieve the goal set by the Paris agreement 20151 to keep global warming under 1.5 or 2.0 °C. This causes a deep crisis in climate-politics.

The current strategy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC (and with it the world) is «Mitigation»: Emission reduction of CO2 and other Greenhouse Gases (GHG)  to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This Herculean task includes the phaseout of fossil-fuel powered energy and simultaneous buildup of renewables, accompanied by electrification of nearly all power consumption.

However it becomes more and more clear that Mitigation will not work fast enough to avert catastrophic Global Warming, including a sharp rise of sea-levels, within a very foreseeable future.

The damage caused by climate change endangers not only our well-being, but also the strategy of mitigation itself, which needs trillions of investment to be earned from the current economy.

Instead of concentrating on mitigation only, methods which address global warming directly by manipulation of the global atmosphere are increasingly on the agenda. At this stage these methods are being labelled, and dismissed, by many climate scientists as «GeoEngineering». The main arguments against it run as follows:

  • Unknown risks.
  • Unproven efficiency.
  • If they work, the world would give up Mitigation.

The third argument, which is often dubbed «Moral Hazard»4, is most efficient, since it is often used to block all research for resolving the first two obstacles. Therefore we need to analyze this assumption.

Mitigation is a strategy which aims at a reform of virtually all economic processes. Our economy is supposed to become sustainable, which means that all material consumed is either endless (e.g. sunlight) or recyclable. This would in fact terminate all emissions and end the addition of further GHG to the atmosphere. It is extremely costly, and it will take more than a century to realize, but we have no alternative to mitigation.

However there is one factor of Global Warming which is not addressed by Mitigation. We already have millions of tons of GHG in the atmosphere, which have been added to it since the Industrial Revolution began around 1850. Mitigation does nothing to remove these. Even if we could stop all emissions tomorrow, the atmosphere would still suffer under an overload of GHG, and global temperatures would remain above pre-industrial levels for hundreds of years. This would result in further ice-loss, sea-level rise and consequential floodings, extreme weather events and on-going desertification. To put it simple: Mitigation does not stop Global Warming.

This means also: Additionally to mitigation we have to remove existing stock of GHG. The «Moral Hazard» argument can and must be dismissed with respect to all GeoEngineering methods insofar as they address the historical load of GHG or albedo loss. Such methods do not interfere with Mitigation.

All of this is not completely new. IPCC has accepted the inclusion of some GeoEngineering methods into the portfolio, especially the growing of forests as well as CO2 removal (CDR) by Direct Air Capture (DAC).

IPCC still maintains that the Paris goals of 1.5 or 2.0 °C can be reached, and it includes the measures above mentioned under their Mitigation efforts as « Negative emissions » in IPCC report No 63.

Defining GeoRestoration

It is at this point in the debate that the term GeoRestoration is introduced. GeoRestoration is a basket of large-scale GeoEngineering methods, which aim at removing the legacy of anthropogenous Greenhouse Gases already in the atmosphere. Unlike GeoEngineering, GeoRestoration is limited to the restoration of the former, pre-industrial climate. Unlike «Negative emissions», GeoRestoration includes methods like Atmospheric Methane Removal (AMR), Enhanced Weathering (EW), Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB) and Ocean Iron Fertilization (OIF), insofar as these methods are limited to restoring the pre-industrial climate.

An example of the limitation of GeoRestoration can be made with albedo enhancement by MCB versus Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI). Global Warming has in fact caused some albedo loss due to melting glaciers and ice-shields  at the poles. Enhancing albedo is therefore a GeoRestoration method inasfar as it makes up for that loss. This holds true for MCB, also white paint on roofs and other small scale methods can be labelled GeoRestoration. SAI however does not aim at restoring the former climate, it creates a new, unknown climate, with all the associated risk, and is therefore a GeoEngineering, not a GeoRestoration method.

GeoRestoration is similar in many ways to the concept of «Negative emissions». However the term «Negative emissions» itself creates the bookkeepers hope that it permits future emissions. And in fact, negative emissions are to be traded for emission rights. This causes true «Moral Hazard», and it is advisable that we are very restrictive with these emission rights, or, in, other words, make them very expensive.

We need, in the following order of priority:

GeoRestoration to deal with the damage already done.

Mitigation to avoid close to 100% of all new GHG emissions.

 Negative emissions to compensate truly unavoidable GHG emissions.

All three efforts are needed, but should be decoupled in order to overcome the blockage caused by the «Moral Hazard» dogma. Moral Hazard rightfully applies to Negative emissions, but is does not apply to and must not stop the removal of legacy GHG. Where it does, it cripples human ingenuity. In an absurd twist «Moral Hazard» has turned from a well-intended guideline into a huge roadblock on our way to solving the worst crisis mankind ever faced.

GeoRestoration is limited in scope and time. The limitation of scope has been described above, the limitation in time corresponds – GeoRestoration, unlike the other two methods, ends when the job is done. It is not a concept for the long-term future, but an urgent effort for the next 20 – 50 years. The climate crisis requires urgent action

GeoRestoration efforts, unlike Negative emissions, shall not be traded for future emission rights. It is an effort to be paid for by the rich countries, corporations and citizens, who have contributed and still contribute most to legacy emissions and Global Warming.

There are many honest methods being developed by a growing number of engineers and entrepreneurs which can be labelled as GeoRestoration. Besides the methods already mentioned the most promising concepts can be found here.


GeoRestoration is a concept for research, development and actual deployment of large-scale global cooling methods, with the limitation to a rollback to safe and known conditions. It is time to leave the labs and scientific circles, go out and try the best ideas, and



  4. Gardiner, Stephen M. “Some Early Ethics of Geoengineering the Climate: A Commentary on the Values of the Royal Society Report.” Environmental Values, vol. 20, no. 2, 2011, pp. 163–88. JSTOR, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.
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