Governing Climate Engineering: Scenarios for Analysis

Harvard Project on Climate Agreements Discussion Paper

37 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2011  

Daniel Bodansky

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: November 1, 2011

Abstract

Geoengineering is a broad concept that encompasses a variety of large-scale, intentional, and "unnatural" technologies to control climate change, including both techniques to limit how much sunlight reaches the earth (usually referred to as "solar radiation management") as well techniques to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere ("carbon dioxide removal"). The potential of geoengineering to reverse global warming rapidly and cheaply makes it alluring to groups across the political spectrum, in particular, as a means of addressing rapid, catastrophic climate change. But geoengineering also poses significant risks, and raises the spectre of technology gone awry. This discussion paper for the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements reviews the various geoengineering approaches, analyzes their permissibility under existing international law, and explores the governance issues raised by four scenarios of particular concern: premature rejection, inadequate funding, unilateral action by an individual, and unilateral action by a single state or small group of states.

Keywords: International law, climate change, geoengineering, climate engineering

JEL Classification: K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Bodansky, Daniel, Governing Climate Engineering: Scenarios for Analysis (November 1, 2011). Harvard Project on Climate Agreements Discussion Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1963397 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1963397

Daniel Bodansky (Contact Author)

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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