Climate Geoengineering Governance

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Social & Cultural Anthropology

Abstract

The Royal Society defines geoengineering as “deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change”.This project addresses the governance challenges from various geoengineering options.



Research will cover five world regions, and actively engage stakeholders. It will employ questionnaires, interviews, literature and web reviews, and scenario workshops. Its themes are:






  • Framings of Geoengineering. How is geoengineering framed in social, technical and legal terms? What can we learn from other emerging technologies, or from attempts to manage the financial system? What conceptions of justice and fairness and what current laws and treaties might apply?


  • Dilemmas of Control of Geoengineering Technologies. What are the particular challenges - in assessing benefits and risks, in public acceptability, in the risks of lock-in and path dependency, in avoiding over-optimistic costings, in dealing with uncertainty, and in international relations - and what solutions are there?


  • Choosing Governance and Regulatory Requirements. How would governance and regulatory arrangements work? Can they be made sensitive and adaptive? What new rulemaking and procedural harmonisation would be required, and could the buy-in of various interests be secured? Finally, what wider lessons can we learn for technology assessment and governance, and what further research is needed?


Planned Impact

Much current policy discourse on climate change points to the need to assess the potential contribution of geoengineering approaches alongside mitigation and adaptation. The IPCC has called an expert meeting on geoengineering in June which will involve all three of its working groups, and the field is likely to continue to increase in strategic importance. This project will help the UK to consolidate the leading position it has established through the Royal Society report (Royal Society, 2009) and the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's Report on the Regulation of Geoengineering (House of Commons, 2010), to which the authors of this proposal have made significant contributions.

Both reports called for the detailed consideration of the governance issues associated with geoengineering. The Government's response to the House of Commons report concurred that research to develop regulatory frameworks was required (UK Government, 2010). This project addresses in full the policy requirements that the Select Committee identified and the Government endorsed. The research team involves all three members of the Royal Society Working Group who worked on the governance aspects of that report, and all five of the authors of the Oxford Principles that were endorsed by the Select Committee and adapted by the Asilomar International Conference (2010) on geoengineering. The project has been designed to produce results which have high policy salience and impact in a range of ways:

- its agenda develops the Oxford Principles and covers the key policy issues discussed in the debate to date: the efficacy, safety, affordability and acceptability of both experimentation and deployment of each of the proposed geoengineering approaches;
- it establishes baseline knowledge as to how existing laws, treaties and regulatory arrangements bear on the issues, and where the gaps lie;
- it deepens policy choice by exploring the social, economic and ethical positions which underlie governance objectives and examining issues of distributive and intergenerational justice which arise;
- it draws on other ongoing work in geoengineering assessment, notably IAGP (2010) and the SRGI (2010) and from regulatory developments in other policy domains, notably financial services, and contributes to the understanding of the governance of other new technologies;
- it recognises that many geoengineering approaches cross boundaries and require understanding of interactions between local, national and global governance, and analyses capacities and policy perspectives on geoengineering in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas;
- its final stage involves the research team working with practitioners to define policy and regulatory choices. This builds on a set of workshops engaging with governments, commercial and non-commercial proponents of geoengineering, and civil society organisations, initiated by the Oxford Geoengineering Programme with independent sources of funding;
- its five reports - part of a wider set of outputs - will be targeted at those setting and scrutinising policy. These cover:
o Month 8. Use of the reverse stress test in characterising geoengineering proposals.
o Month 9. Geoengineering: Justice, risks and benefits.
o Month 12. Current law and regulation on geoengineering: A comparative study
o Month 22. Potential pathways for geoengineering development
o Month 26. Climate geoengineering governance

The main policy output of this project will be a set of approaches to enable policymakers to craft a geoengineering governance framework. The research will also (a) inform the construction of governance frameworks for future novel technologies as these emerge, and (b) provide insights as to how "appraisal optimism" in costing new technology - a term coined by H. M. Treasury - might be countered. The research teams will additionally use their own networks to strengthen policy engagement around the main findings.
 
Description Governance challenges
Climate geoengineering presents distinctive governance challenges because it:
• includes a wide range of possible technologies embodying highly heterogeneous technical practices;
• they are novel propositions whose impacts are hard to assess;
• even experimental work on many of them (but not all) is controversial and likely to involve activities and consequences that cross jurisdictions; and
• deployment of any of them would have to be considered in relation to further efforts in mitigation and adaptation, and in relation to problems (e.g. food shortages, lack of disaster resilience, migration) in which anthropogenic climate change is only one contributory cause.

Framing
Definitional politics are constantly at work framing and re-framing what, at any given moment, might be included under the geoengineering banner. For geoengineering governance it is important to specify the particular technological practice under consideration.

Costs
CGG analyses of costs and economics conclude that all of the cost estimates of geoengineering are entirely overdetermined by their input assumptions. Furthermore the cost estimates only look at the project costs, ignoring the social and environmental externalities.

Security implications
The principal military applications for weather and climate control appear to be terrain denial and demoralisation of civilians, but there are cheaper and more controllable options already available. Weaponisation of geoengineering technologies as such seems unlikely. The problem of perceived cross-border impacts would inevitably arise from geoengineering experiments when attribution for climatic events is unclear. It is also likely that the implementation of technologies like sulphate aerosol injection would be carried out in conjunction with military contractors.

Governance
International regulatory machinery could take three (not mutually exclusive) forms: adapting existing provisions; bespoke coverage of gaps in those provisions; and developing general principles of governance. In developing any regulatory framework, it is necessary to be aware of regulatory intention: is the law seeking to keep options open, or to limit potential risks? Any regulatory machinery requires flexibility to cope with changes in the technologies themselves or with the capacities to monitor and attribute their impacts.
CGG has developed indicators to assess the applicability/adaptability of existing legal instruments to geoengineering. Our assessment shows there is no one existing authority with the scope and competence to cover the whole range of international governance requirements. There is scope to adapt existing regulatory machinery such as with the London Convention/London Protocol governing dumping at sea. The regulation of what is done within the atmosphere constitutes a real gap requiring new provisions. This might be considered a priority given the attention currently being given to Solar Radiation Management technologies.

Wider implications
We can also ask more generally what geoengineering can do for society? At the moment discussion of values is right up front before the technology is developed. So geoengineering provides opportunities to explore things like the way we think about nature, what we think is the good society, what's the role of technology in our lives, and its implications for social justice? Thinking about geoengineering can teach us about the governance of other emerging global technologies.
Exploitation Route We have already established a number of mutually beneficial research and policy links in the course of the research, which include the G8+1, academic and policy bodies in China, India and Singapore and elsewhere, the London Convention/London Protocol on Dumping at Sea, the World Economic Forum, the FCO, DECC, RCUK and other UK government bodies, and a range of civil society organisations. All of these will be made aware of our findings.

The joint programme of activity with the RCUK's IAGP and SPICE projects allowed us to develop a broadly common perspective on future research, and to start a wider discussion on the significance and future of our work. Our joint Royal Society event is publicly available through YouTube.

The immediate steps we are taking to further publicise our findings and encourage debate on their implications include the issue of a set of briefing documents in common format with those of IAGP, and discussions with Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) on a possible Policy and Practice Note on Geoengineering.

A forthcoming joint publication of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (Potsdam) and the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (Oxford) outlines a proposal for the establishment of professional research norms for geoengineering building on the Oxford Principles.

Our ideas for future research are being discussed, inter alia, with a consortium of philanthropic research funders.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy
URL http://geoengineering-governance-research.org
 
Description CGG's policy impact is highly visible in the only major international policy report published since the full range of CGG's work has been available. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in its October 2015 Update on Climate Geoengineering in Relation to the CBD: Potential Impacts and Regulatory Framework, cites 13 CGG papers in the main report (about 10% of all citations on governance and regulation) and 16 more in its additional bibliography of recent work. In late 2015 discussions are under way with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) to identify policy issues to be brought to the attention of the UK Parliament. In October 2013 Steve Rayner and Tim Kruger contributed to POST Note 447 Negative Emissions Technologies. In mid 2015 Peter Healey and Steve Rayner authored Living With Environmental Change's (LWEC) Policy and Practice Note 18 on Geoengineering and its governance, and the team prepared a full set of seven briefing notes summarising the results and recommendations of CGG for policy audiences. It is still early to assess the full impact of these, although we know they are being circulated through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's S&T Network. In September 2013, Steve Rayner and Tim Kruger presented to the Directors of Counter-Proliferation of each of the G8+1 countries at a meeting in London to discuss novel proliferation threats. As a follow up to this meeting, Catherine Redgwell and Tim Kruger met officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in January 2014 to discuss international regulatory arrangements as they relate to geoengineering. In October 2012, Catherine Redgwell and Chiara Armeni participated in the meeting in London of Contracting Parties to the 1972 London Dumping Convention and to the 1996 London Dumping Protocol. Following discussion of Ocean Iron Fertilization, they presented "Geoengineering: The Wider International Legal Context" which discussed key international governance challenges and potential governance models beyond the marine context. The Oxford Principles were further developed during the project and widely cited in international policy and academic discourse on geoengineering governance. In a personal communication, Phil Williamson (UEA and NERC) writes: 'I would be surprised if there are many other programmes that have had such a range and depth of policy influences.' CGG International Impact CGG International Workshops were held in Beijing, New Delhi and Singapore. Prior to our May 2014 workshop in Beijing geoengineering had not been a consistent part of Chinese policy discourse. Subsequently our Beijing hosts, Pan JiaHua and colleagues in the Institute for Urban and Environment Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, have been charged with pursuing governance and social issues within a new Chinese research programme on geoengineering, launched in late 2014. DECC, DEFRA and Research Councils participated in CGG's Scenarios Workshop, held in London in October 2014, which also included international academic and policy representation. CGG's Impact on Research CGG took the initiative in proposing closer collaboration to the other two concurrently RCUK funded geoengineering projects, IAGP and SPICE. The results included a workshop in Warwick in October 2014 between the three research teams, to deepen understanding of each other's work, and joint public presentation of key findings at the Royal Society in November 2014. Media coverage, organised with the help of the Science Media Centre, was extensive. In a personal communication, the PI of the SPICE project, Matt Watson, writes in December 2015: 'Governance is a critical part of the discourse around geoengineering, particularly those technologies whose deployment would see transboundary effects. SPICE was a project designed by scientists and engineers with little consideration for, or expertise in, governance. As such, the members of the SPICE project were ill equipped to consider widely the broader implications of their research. Academics from the University of Oxford's Oxford Martin School and the University of Sussex's Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) provided critical guidance to SPICE during a period of intense scrutiny and pressure.' As planned, the project has also worked with the Oxford Geoengineering Programme (OGP) to further develop project impacts. In February 2014 on Necker Island, Tim Kruger presented to a group of philanthropists convened by Richard Branson. Since that meeting discussions have continued with the Rasmussen Foundation, and the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), amongst others. The OGP organised a Foundations' Round Table in December 2014 for CIFF, to help the charitable sector develop a research funding strategy in the area, and has since submitted a memorandum on future research based on that meeting. CGG's conceptual framework contributed both to the problem framing of an OGP conference on Greenhouse Gas Removal Technologies, in October 2015 (which pulled in additional support from LWEC and Virgin Earth Challenge) and to the planning (during 2014 and 2015) of a new NERC-led initiative on greenhouse gas removal, expected to be announced in early 2016.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Policy & public services
 
Description Lecture - Geoengineering our Climate: Science, Ethics and Governance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact None other than an interesting discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Lecture - Geoengineering our Climate: Science, Ethics and Governance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact None other than an interesting discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Lecture - Geoengineering our Climate: Science, Ethics and Governance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact None other than an interesting discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Address to the World Economic Forum's summer meeting. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Chiefly the appreciation for the introduction to the subject from the audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description BBC Radio 4 Programme on Geoengineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact There was some increase in website traffic which we attribute to audience follow-up
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03ktz14
 
Description CGG Workshop on Geoengineering, Lock-in and Path Dependence 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact It is clear that from responses of colleagues that this workshop provided new insights in applying findings from path dependence and lock-in from other policy domains to geoengineering.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://geoengineering-governance-research.org/lockinworkshoppresentations.php
 
Description CGG, IAGP and SPICE joint workshop, 223/23 October 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact There was remarkable unanimity about the role of the social sciences in future research, and about framing future research narratives so that geoengineering is seen to be less exceptional and more a contributor to a range of approaches for managing climate change.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Contributions to POSTNote 447 on Negative Emissions Technologies 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/POST-PN-447/
 
Description Contributions to the Climate Engineering Conference 2014 (CEC14) Berlin from the Project Team 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Deepening collaboration and intensifying debate with international academic colleagues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.ce-conference.org
 
Description Deliberative Workshop on Climate Geoengineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The main immediate purpose was to elect a range of public positions on geoengineering. This is being written up for publication as part of the CGG project's work on public engagement and consent. It will also feed into the design a national survey planned for the first quarter of 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Engagement with international philanthropists on Necker Island 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact It was agreed that the topic was in principle suitable for philanthropic funding. No offers as yet.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description First Meeting of Academic Working Group on International Governance of Climate Engineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://dcgeoconsortium.org/2016/03/01/announcing-a-new-academic-working-group-on-international-gover...
 
Description Geoengineering Research: Where Next? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The event attracted considerable media coverage, at home and abroad.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T81uQyD0RpY&list=PL_KA9gR6zLeEJt18oTVe-6fAJIPc2Lki0&index=1
 
Description Greenhouse Gas Removal Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/news/2015-greenhouse-gas-removal
 
Description Guest lecture: Geoengineering Research: Ignorance, Emergency, The Slippery Slope and the Valley of Death 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Good academic interchange
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Keynote Address - Climate Geoengineering: Dr Strangelove or Dr Salk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact important for the number of government and industry decision-makers present
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Keynote Address on Evidence, Uncertainty and the Role of Values 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Good academic interchange
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Keynote Address: Are We Still Trying to eat an Elephant? Scholarship and Politics Post-Copenhagen 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Deepened an existing collaboration with the Centre, and allowed exploration of a parallel Swedish project on geoengineering which they are pursuing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Meeting with officials at FCO to discuss international regulation of geoengineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact We secured their agreement to participate in a workshop that we are organising to examine the governance gaps relating to geoengineering.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Participation in scenarios workshop organised for the European EuTRACE study by the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, germany 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Report on this workshop submitted to the European Commission.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation - The Oxford Principles for Geoengineering Governance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact None other than the above.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Presentation on Climate Geoengineering Rhetoric 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Nothing specific as yet
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Presentation to Directors of Counter-Proliferation for the G8+1 countries 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Follow-up meeting at FCO, recorded as a separate activity
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation to London Convention/Protocol Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/Parliamentarians
Results and Impact See attached presentation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Presentation to the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Geoengineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact A number of participants requested more information. The engagement helped set the scene for the project's specialist workshop on geoengineering in New Delhi in June 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentations in Germany on International Law and Regulation and Geoengineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Considerable interest expressed in the research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Public Debate on Geoengineering Research 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The audience was better able to understand geoengineering, and changed its opinions as a result of the debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://geoengineering-governance-research.org/perch/resources/geoengineering-research-public-debate-...
 
Description Public lecture - Anthropology and Climate Change: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Anthropocene 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Nothing other than the above.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Public lecture - Climate Change and the Role of Geoengineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Nothing specific.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Public lecture - Contesting Geoengineering Governance: Reflections of an Observing Participant 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Good interchange
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Road from Paris: Ensuring effective and equitable climate action 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Scenarios Workshop, Royal Institution, 13 October 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact The day was a learning opportunity for the participants; the results are being analysed and written up by the research team.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Workshop: CGG's academic and policy context 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop met its objectives in getting CGG known to the academic community (the primary objective although it included representatives of civil society organisations) and helping to situate our efforts in relation to other work. Many of the links made at the workshop were developed by individual members of the research team in getting comments on papers, for example. At a broader level the links established with the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany, led to ma
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://geoengineering-governance-research.org/outputs-from-the-st-annes-workshop.php
 
Description Workshops in Beijing and New Delhi 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact There has been subsequent discussion of the scope for research collaboration, possible under the Newton scheme, especially with India.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014