The question is: If there is an emergency, do we have a Plan B in our back pocket to solve it? Geoengineering is no longer unmentionable (and more). The effects of geoengineering could be worse than climate change, so we need to do our homework rather than assume it can stave off disaster. As carbon dioxide levels creep ever higher, scientists are working to put greenhouse gas in its place. We need a radical new approach to cutting greenhouse gases, and it might have arrived. The easiest way to fight global warming: Simply cleaning up soot could work wonders for the climate. Can condoms save us from climate change?: A study finds improved family planning is one of the most effective methods of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions we’ve got, but nobody dares comment on it — that is how abortion politics have skewed our political universe (and more). If Obama can't defeat the Republican headbangers, our planet is doomed. GEO-Politics: The gains of Copenhagen will be fleeting unless the world's nations create a Global Environmental Organization to enforce them. Poor countries’ economic development will contribute to climate change - but they are already its greatest victims. We are all Madoffs: Our relationship to the natural world is a Ponzi scheme. Can civilisation survive the unavoidable environmental catastrophe?: A review of Uncivilisation: the Dark Mountain Manifesto by Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine. New Scientist on reasons to be optimistic for the future and a blueprint for a better world.

From Cato Unbound, Scott Sumner argues that almost everything economists and economic policymakers thought they knew about the role of monetary policy in the recent recession and financial collapse is wrong. Did Lehman have to die so global finance could live? Steven Pearlstein on why the Lehman Brothers failure may have saved us all (and more). Lehman’s lessons learned: One year later, what the collapse of the banking colossus has taught us. Martin Wolf, the Jeremiah who has the financial world's ear, on learning the wrong lessons from Lehman’s fall. One year after Lehman: It's business as usual again for Wall Street's casino capitalists. A review of Lawrence G. McDonald's A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers (and more and more; and more at Bookforum). Did the banks go crazy? Whatever economists might think, rationality and efficiency don't always go together. A short history of fast times on Wall Street: When it comes to trading stocks, abuse of inside market information and access has been a problem for over 100 years. The “financial tsunami” has left behind important questions about the way the market operates, the pursuit of profit and self-interest; Michael Sandel offers unexpected conclusions. Simon Johnson on what you need to know about the state of our financial system (and more). Why capitalism fails: Hyman Minsky, the man who saw the meltdown coming, had another troubling insight — it will happen again. These seven liberal financial experts are our best hope for truly fixing the economy.

From the inaugural issue of National Affairs (a successor to The Public Interest; and more), James Capretta on the new middle class contract; Steven Teles on the eternal return of compassionate conservatism; William Schambra on Obama and the policy approach; and Leon Kass is looking for an honest man. The first neoconservative: Christopher Hitchens, Damon Linker, Seth Lipsky, Reihan Salam, and James Q. Wilson remember Irving Kristol (and more). Here's everything you need to know about czars. Bruce Bartlett on why we can't cut spending: The votes aren't there. Everyone seems to agree that budget deficits are harmful — can they all be wrong? From Wired, here are 12 shocking ideas that could change the world, including emptying the prisons, embracing human cloning, and busting up big league sports. From Democracy, a series of articles on the race to innovate; how do you solve a problem like the Senate? A review of Why Not Parties?: Party Effects in the United States; and a review of The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World by Michelle Goldberg. From Slate, why no more 9/11s? An interactive inquiry about why America hasn't been attacked again. A review of The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11 by John Farmer. Peking over our shoulder: Noam Scheiber on how our Chinese shareholders get nosy. Thomas PM Barnett on how Obama should maneuver against the "Axis of Evil 2.0" at the United Nations.

The Department of Justice says the Google Books deal won't fly. Will the Google Books juggernaut keep rolling, and  should it? It may be too late if and when we find out. Google stands to be the single repository for millions of the world's books, but critics worry about monopoly and profit motives, and what it means for readers' privacy (and more on Google CEO Eric Schmidt). A debate: Is the Google Books settlement progressive or not? Google Books' archenemy the Open Book Alliance formally launches. Geoffrey Nunberg on why Google's Book Search is a disaster for scholars. What's worth downloading on Google Books? From FT, is the rise of the digital book a sign that the codex, in its paper-and-print form, is on its death bed, or merely adapting to the times? The Kindle Problem: Successful products need to offer great experience or great convenience — Amazon’s e-reader falls short on both. Everyone has an opinion on the Kindle vs. print, but what if you didn't have a choice? The printed word has always had an Achilles heel — factual mistakes; can the electronic reader help? Welcome to the library — say goodbye to the books. In the world of books, September is the cruellest month. Redactor Agonistes: Daniel Menaker on a list of mostly non-arithmetical observations about mainstream publishing. Book publishing is in trouble? You wouldn’t know it from the pile of new language books. Welcome to the Weird Books Room: Abebooks has done a great service to connoisseurs of the bizarre. How much harm does a bad book cover do?