Climate Engineering Field Research: The Favorable Setting of International Environmental Law
Tilburg University - Department of European & International Public Law; Tilburg Sustainability Center
September 17, 2013
Forthcoming in Washington and Lee Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment, Vol. 5 No.2 (2014)
As forecasts for climate change and its impacts have become more dire, climate engineering proposals have come under increasing consideration and are presently moving toward field trials. This article examines the relevant international environmental law, distinguishing between climate engineering research and deployment. It also emphasizes of the climate change context of these proposals, and the enabling function of law. Extant international environmental law generally favors such field tests, in large part because, even though field trials may present uncertain risks to humans and the environment, climate engineering may reduce the greater risks of climate change. Notably, this favorable legal setting is present in those multilateral environmental agreements whose subject matter is closest to climate engineering. Secondary reasons for the favorable setting are that several relevant multilateral environmental agreements encourage scientific research and technological development, and that climate engineering research is consistent with principles of international environmental law. Existing international law imposes some procedural duties on the states which would be responsible for the field research, as well as a handful of particular prohibitions and constraints.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 53
Keywords: climate change, climate engineering, geoengineering, international environmental lawAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 17, 2013 ; Last revised: December 5, 2013
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