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.
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.
The Climate Engineering Conference 2014 (CEC14) was the largest geoengineering meeting to date, bringing over 350 people together in Berlin in August 2014. The most prominent controversy at CEC14 was the introduction of a document – the “Berlin Declaration” –that those attending could choose to support. The document, drafted by representatives of the Oxford Geoengineering Programme, suggested some steps forward for governing solar geoengineering research. The story of the response to this document and its eventual withdrawal should hold interest for anyone concerned with the governance of emerging technologies or openness in science policy
How are we to govern Solar Radiation Management (SRM) technologies? This is far from a straightforward question. SRM4G is 3-workshop project being conducted over the course of 2015 which seeks develop a process for structuring future-oriented deliberations on SRM governance.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be studying whether or not NGOs will release new statements about climate engineering in light of last week’s National Academy of Sciences National Research Council reports on the topic.