Moratoria for Global Governance and Contested Technology: The Case of Climate Engineering
74 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2016 Last revised: 14 Apr 2016
Date Written: March 20, 2016
Calls for moratoria are a frequent response to controversial issues in international diplomacy and control of technology, and are now prominent in debates over governance challenges posed by climate engineering (CE) – intentional modification of the global climate to reduce changes caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases. Based on twelve historical cases of moratoria in other areas of diplomatic conflict or controversial science and technology, we present a novel analytic framework to examine purposes, design characteristics, and conditions for effectiveness of moratoria, based on a taxonomy of three ideal moratorium types: risk-management moratoria, principled-conflict moratoria, and bargaining moratoria. We use this framework to examine potential contributions and design conditions for a moratorium on CE. A moratorium for CE could seek primarily to advance risk-management aims or bargaining aims, with distinct implications for its timing, scope, associated actors, and conditions for termination. Beyond the current, high-stakes case of CE, the proposed analytic framework has broad-er implications for critical examination of moratorium proposals, current and future, in other areas of controversial research, technology, and governance challenges.
Keywords: climate change, climate engineering, geoengineering, moratorium, environmental law, international law,
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