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

See all articles by Kerryn Brent

Kerryn Brent

University of Adelaide - Law School

Jeffrey McGee

University of Tasmania - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 17, 2013

Abstract

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

Brent, Kerryn and McGee, Jeffrey, The Regulation of Geoengineering: A Gathering Storm for International Climate Change Policy? (September 17, 2013). Air Quality and Climate Change, Volume 46, No. 4, November 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2327389

Kerryn Brent

University of Adelaide - Law School ( email )

Ligertwood, floor 5, Room 519, the University of A
Adelaide, SA 5005
Australia

Jeffrey McGee (Contact Author)

University of Tasmania - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 89
Hobart
Tasmania, 7001
Australia

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