Guest Submission: Author Fiekowsky Speaks about Choosing Not to Ride Off the Climate Cliff


by Scott Seward

Davis, like the rest of humanity is on course to ride off a climate change cliff. We will just do it on bikes.

If you don’t want that kind of future then come see the author of Climate Restoration, Peter Fiekowsky, speak this Thursday at 7:00 pm (see details at end).

Peter does not have all the answers, but he has taken on what needs to be taken on in his treatment of the scale and urgency to the problem of survival in the face of climate change. Peter’s assumptive voice patronizes, but his book is an important contribution to where we need to go to reach “safe harbor.”

For a crib notes summary of the book you can read a review at The reviewer, Maria Mendez, holds back from what could really bother you about the author’s interpretation of the elite pedigree behind the proposed solutions to draw down C02. Fiekowsky spends no ink on the legacy of the slave enabled colonialist system that lives on in our extractive economy and remains a real danger to his own aspirations.

That said, Peter Fiekowsky is an ally in the forces of change that apply to climate action and provide for a just transition and benevolent community. His privileged myopia need not get in our way of a better path toward the rapid evaluation of, if, and how best to apply geoengineering to reduce hundreds of gigatons of C02 from the atmosphere by 2050. I believe he would be open to constructive suggestions about how to include more voices in the benefits and origin stories of this work.

Stopping fossil fuel use is necessary and Fiekowsky does not disagree. What riles the climate justice activist, who is his necessary ally, is the idea that holding oil companies accountable, and similar policy work, is never going to happen. That view does not jive with reality. There would be no $369 billion dollar Inflation Reduction Act (funding for renewable energy and probably geoengineering research), if it was not for the direct action of youth and the political action work of the raft of organizations, like Indivisible Yolo, holding back the fatalist authoritarians who would destroy the planet (along with democracy.)

Peter is politically aloof, which is useful for an entrepreneur counting on petro dollars (any dollars) to see the privatization of large-scale climate restoration take hold. He is appealing to the 1% that has most all the money. I don’t think he is wrong in his assessment that the wealthy need to engage in funding solutions. “That’s the reality we have.” I would also point out that the Green New Deal is not over, it’s just stalled and that the exploration of Climate Restoration could be part of that deal. It’s “both and.” We need Peter, and his growing crew, and they need us.

As Peter Fiekowsky says, geoengineering is only possible because the outcomes of climate change are now understood. Best case is bad (IPCC). The world’s atmosphere is holding 400+ parts per million of C02. Reducing that slightly by 2050 will submerge too much land and leave too many displaced by one disaster after another. Society will not survive. We need to find ways to reduce the carbon we put into the atmosphere – by the gigaton – that could very well require intervention.

The problem is that the discussion of large-scale geoengineering may only produce rhetorical slack. We absolutely do not want to continue to encourage toxic practices because we can claim that “mom,” mother earth, has more capacity to clean up after us. We have had quite enough slack given, these last six hundred years, to unaccountable markets that erode our ability to create a more respectful earth culture and remove bad actors from power.

If the geoengineering cat is out of the bag, then with it must come the implementation of more equity for the public. Peter’s theories of beneficent market driven solutions are happy talk for far too many of us. His book describes billions to be made and gigatons to be drawn down using: fossil-fuel-free sources, ocean iron fertilization, kelp forestation, and methane (heat burst) protection; all using resources that we need to agree to use on the land and the sea that we share.

The geoengineering that Fiekowsky assembles is “large scale biomimicry.” Biomimicry is a lovely word, but I want to see that science broadly supports the natural systems claims along with a review of the math that deserves general buy-in. Provided the assumptions are tested, I hope Peter Fiekowsky will be an agent of change and work to be less complicit with current systemic flaws and reorient the implementation of his work toward just transition. These changes will make our success more possible.

Come see Peter Fiekowsky speak on Thursday 7:00 pm at the Davis Community Church Fellowship Room, 421 D St. A couple dozen seats are currently available, or tune in via Zoom. Yolo Citizens Climate Lobby, Ocean Iron Fertilization Alliance, Cool Davis and the IY Local Climate Action team will be there.

Please register for this free event on Eventbrite to ensure you’ll have a seat. If you can’t join in person, please send an email to and they will send you the Zoom info when it becomes available.


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2 thoughts on “Guest Submission: Author Fiekowsky Speaks about Choosing Not to Ride Off the Climate Cliff”

  1. Alan Hirsch

    UC Davis as well as city of Davis seeming to support widening of I-80 to support more driving-is part of  the denial of climate change by local electeds.

    Yolo Mobility is the only group speaking out against this climate crime that is happen because they are bribed with free gas tax money.

    Making these addition lanes “toll lanes” won’t erase the GHG from additional cars driving on them.

    1. Walter Shwe

      UC Davis as well as city of Davis seeming to support widening of I-80 to support more driving-is part of  the denial of climate change by local electeds.

      I fully support the widening of I-80 not only in the the Davis and Sacramento areas, but all the way to the Bay Bridge. Traffic issues won’t solve themselves.

      Does Mr. Hirsch and his family actually practice what he preaches? Does he lead by example? I always try to.

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