The Regulation of Geoengineering: A Gathering Storm for International Climate Change Policy?
Air Quality and Climate Change, Volume 46, No. 4, November 2012
18 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 17, 2013
Over the past decade geoengineering has steadily built momentum in academic and policy circles as a potential response to the risk of rapid climate change. Geoengineering has moved from a fringe idea to a serious topic of policy discussion. We argue that there are two reasons for the rise of interest in geoengineering. First, the international negotiations on reducing emissions have so far failed to provide a result that will likely prevent dangerous climate change occurring in coming decades. Second, geoengineering technologies have advanced to a stage where in the near future they might be attractive to countries facing significant climate impacts. Particularly, as geoengineering holds out the possibility of a less costly short-term response to climate change than rapid de-carbonisation of stationary energy and transport systems. However, there are many considerable risks associated with geoengineering, including damage to environmental and social systems. At present, there are no international agreements that specifically regulate the testing and/or use of geoengineering technologies. It is currently possible for one country to unilaterally decide to use geoengineering technology to the detriment of others. This leads us to the conclusion that an international agreement should be urgently established to regulate decisions regarding the testing and use of geoengineering. Australia, as a country which is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, should prepare to participate in initiatives in this regard in order to protect our interests.
Keywords: geoengineering, climate change, Australia, Environment, regulation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation