The Missing Pieces of Geoengineering Research Governance

62 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2015 Last revised: 23 Oct 2015

See all articles by Albert Lin

Albert Lin

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: April 10, 2015


Proposals to govern geoengineering research have focused heavily on the physical risks associated with individual research projects, and to a somewhat lesser degree on fostering public trust. While these concerns are critical, they are not the only concerns that research governance should address. Generally overlooked, and more difficult to address, are the systemic concerns geoengineering research raises: technological lock-in — the danger that sustained research efforts will predetermine geoengineering deployment decisions; moral hazard — the danger that increased attention to geoengineering will undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and the potential that research itself will increase the probability of future global conflict. Developing mechanisms to address these systemic concerns is a difficult but essential task. This Article proposes an ongoing programmatic technology assessment to analyze the physical and systemic risks associated with geoengineering research, prioritization of research into techniques involving lesser risks, and establishment of safeguards against such risks.

Keywords: geoengineering, climate change, climate engineering, technology assessment

Suggested Citation

Lin, Albert, The Missing Pieces of Geoengineering Research Governance (April 10, 2015). Minnesota Law Review, Forthcoming, UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 434, Available at SSRN:

Albert Lin (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics