Tackling Climate Change: 216 (Issues)
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The publications have mapped the core concepts, opportunities, challenges and governance gaps and have explored many of them—including the governance of research, operational decision-making regarding deployment, compensation and intellectual property—fairly well. Nevertheless, even these issues have remaining questions and prospects for intellectual progress.
I highlight here a handful of lines of inquiry that seem to warrant further emphasis. First, state action in this space will likely remain largely absent in domestic and international policy-making arenas. For example, one interpretation of the recent failure of a modest proposed UN Environment Assembly decision regarding geoengineering's assessment and governance is that most states are unwilling to spend much political capital on moving the issue forward. Given this, the understanding of non-state actors' capacities and limitations to govern early-stage solar geoengineering activities should be refined.
Which non-state actors could most effectively, legitimately and feasibly exert authority? Could this governance include a moratorium on large-scale outdoor solar geoengineering activities? How could regulatory capture be prevented, and accountability and transparency ensured? What secondary roles could state and intergovernmental actors assume in non-state governance, perhaps in order to facilitate its gradual legalization? Second, research will likely proceed while solar geoengineering remains controversial.
Some process of engaging with the public, non-governmental organizations, public agencies, commercial actors and others is necessary to identify and establish the contours of support, acceptability and concerns. At the moment, the burden for this falls by default on the scientists who conduct early research.
However, this not only seems inappropriate and inefficient, it could also cause each project or experiment to become a proxy debate on solar geoengineering as a whole. Which actors could and should lead public engagement processes, and how? What should the objectives be? In what ways should this undertaking be limited? Third, if solar geoengineering research and development are scaled up, and certainly if it is implemented, commercial actors will play essential, growing roles in providing requisite goods and services.
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This will raise prospects—both legitimate and perceived—of undue influence in decision-making, conflicts of interest, inadequate transparency, lock-in and profiting from a controversial practice. Intellectual property policy is one means to govern commercial actors. What other governance mechanisms could effectively leverage their capacities while avoiding the risks and pitfalls?
The scholarship of regulating public procurement could offer some guidance. Fourth, although the IPCC and its reports are remarkably influential in climate change policy-making, they have not thoroughly assessed solar geoengineering's capacities and limitations to reduce climate change and manage its risks. For example, the recent special report on 1. Serious consideration of solar geoengineering would likely require integrating it into the IPCC's leading scenarios, yet given its low direct financial deployment costs, doing so in benefit—cost optimization or cost minimization analyses would run the risk of unduly portraying the advantages of excessive reliance on it.
How the IPCC and other authoritative bodies could responsibly assess the opportunities, limitations and risks of solar geoengineering would itself arguably be a form of governance, one that remains underexplored. Finally, little writing has considered the governance needs and potential responses that would arise subsequent to any solar geoengineering deployment.
If undertaken, solar geoengineering would be a complex, challenging and in many ways novel human endeavour.
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Although such explorations might seem premature, they could identify possible problematic outcomes and undesirable situations that could be avoided with appropriate foresight and pre-emptive action. The author thanks two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and reviews editor Michel Destrade for the invitation. He is also grateful to his funder for enabling the work. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Proc Math Phys Eng Sci.
Published online Sep 4. Jesse L. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Received Apr 26; Accepted Jul Keywords: climate change, geoengineering, climate engineering, solar radiation management, governance, policy. Solar geoengineering Solar geoengineering would intentionally alter the Earth's radiative balance, and most proposed methods would do so by increasing its albedo. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Figure 2.
Figure 3. Governance thus far Solar geoengineering's multiple serious physical risks and social challenges necessitate some form of governance. Governance of research Governance of solar geoengineering research may be warranted for multiple reasons.
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An advocate of non-binding norms' importance in solar geoengineering governance is David Victor, who says that they: will be needed soon…. Abatement displacement The concern that the consideration, research and development of solar geoengineering would harmfully undermine emissions abatement has been widespread. Moratoria Scholars, advocates and others frequently suggest that outdoor solar geoengineering activities that surpass certain scales not take place until certain conditions have been met [ 82 , 83 , 93 , , — , , , , — ].
Operational decision-making In the long term, the central question of governing solar geoengineering will be whether, when, and how it would be used—perhaps globally—to reduce climate change and its risks. Private actors and intellectual property Although states are usually central in discussions of developing and implementing solar geoengineering, they are not the sole actors. Compensation and liability Another persistent question in discussions of governance of solar geoengineering has been whether and how those who believe that they have been harmed by outdoor activities could be compensated.
Conclusion The dozen years during which the governance of solar geoengineering has been seriously discussed have produced a substantial corpus of knowledge, analyses and proposals from scholars, public agencies, think tanks and advocates. Acknowledgements The author thanks two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and reviews editor Michel Destrade for the invitation.
Data accessibility This article has no additional data. Competing interests I declare I have no competing interests. Funding This work was supported by the Open Philanthropy Project. References 1.
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Normative issues of geoengineering technologies. In Managing global warming: an interface of technology and human issues ed. Letcher TM, editor. Cambridge, MA: Academic Press. McKinnon C. Sleepwalking into lock-in? Avoiding wrongs to future people in the governance of solar radiation management research. Towards legitimacy of the solar geoengineering research enterprise. A , Geoengineering, political legitimacy and justice. Ethics Policy Environ. Jinnah S.
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