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.
The book’s strength is that it largely achieves these two potentially contradictory tasks. Morton delivers a utopian scenario for climate engineering while still giving enough attention to its possible pitfalls and missteps to reveal just how difficult such a path would be to craft in reality. Time and again he emphasizes the need for care, compassion and justice in in both the purposes and design of a climate geoengineering intervention.
David Morrow, in a tightly constructed talk at American University on October 8, examined the arguments for and against a modest solar radiation management (SRM) research agenda. He came down strongly in favor of research, marking the first time that Dr. Morrow has staked such a clear preference.
My comment is meant to express a concern about how “climate engineering” is typically presented, initially at least, as set apart from other kinds of responses to climate change and even as raising “new” or “distinctive” ethical problems. I realise that this situation is changing somewhat, so to try to help it on its way, here is why I personally endorse a move away from talking about “climate engineering” in favour of talking about the many separate technologies that are currently herded together under that label. I realise this makes things rather messy, but I also think that messiness is a perennial feature of climate change politics.
In a brief phone chat recorded by the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment as part of a new series, Dr. Daniel Sarewitz, Co-Director, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, Arizona State Unviersity, chats with Jane Flegal, Graduate Student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. They discuss the…
Holly J Buck, FCEA Faculty Fellow and PhD candidate at Cornell University gave a brief talk this afternoon on her recent work investigating the cultural, practical, and conversational binaries that imagine geoengineering as distinctly, problematically separate from agriculture. She argued that the false dichotomy between issues of food security, land reform, and progressive farming must be deconstructed and replaced with a language of cooperation.
All scholarship on the relationship between climate migration and unrest (including Kelley et al’s paper) makes clear that there is always a complex of factors, which begs the question: can international law make decisions on conferring migrant or refugee status if someone is, say, a 30% climate migrant, a 20% economic migrant, and a 50% war refugee? The crux of the challenge is obvious. Governing climate engineering, with its uncertainty and difficulty in attributing consequences, is a similarly complex institutional design challenge.
The wide, in some cases global scope of effects of climate engineering technologies as well as their deep implications for human society make CE technologies prone to analysis and evaluation by social sciences as well as humanities.