The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment is an initiative of the Global Environmental Politics program in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. We are concerned with the social, political, and legal implications of climate engineering technologies. Our public outreach efforts are guided by the observation that, to date, the conversation about climate engineering’s development, deployment, and implications has been confined to a relatively narrow set of voices. Our goal is to generate space for perspectives from civil society actors and the wider public, to produce a heightened level of engagement around issues of justice, agency, and inclusion.
In this brief video message, Simon Nicholson, Co-Director of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, argues that after CoP 21 in Paris, we must have more honest assessment of goals and the tools available to us. This means, he argues, a need for open consideration of ideas that to this point have largely been seen…
The mismatch between the academic and popular conception of geoengineering can muddle the conversation on whether/how we should be pursuing geoengineering solutions to climate change. If academics and non-academics think geoengineering is two different things, productive conversation about appropriate policy and regulatory pathways for the various climate solutions that potentially fall under the geoengineering umbrella is unlikely to emerge.
Rather than initially categorizing strategies by their physical mechanism and then ask what they can do for us and how risky they are, we should instead start with the normative considerations as the foundation for our initial categorization.
The advantages and disadvantages of solar geoengineering ought to be compared to each other using a cost-benefit analysis. While there has been much discussion about the trade-offs inherent in solar geoengineering, there has been surprisingly little quantitative, formal modeling of these trade-offs.
Is staying below a 2C rise in temperature is a realistic or fantastic target? There’s been talk about this lately, in Nature and on this forum. Beneath this question lies another question: Is there hope?