A Prognosis, and Perhaps a Plan, for Geoengineering Governance

The idea of global climate engineering exists, but there are no global institutions capable of making legitimate choices about deploying and managing such an intervention. On the other hand, sub-global regions, mostly individual countries could, and in fact currently do, deploy smaller interventions against natural disasters without global decision-making. If governments actively plan to cooperate on developing and managing interventions to avoid, redirect or modify severe weather natural disasters related to climate change they may along the way learn about how to set intervention goals, make intervention choices, assess outcomes of the intervention and adapt the interventions accordingly. These crucial deliberation and management skills could grow as the interventions grow in response to more severe impacts. Governments should plan to use collaboration on natural disasters as a vehicle for developing the institutional capacity to manage the global climate.

The changing climate will produce rising sea levels, heat waves,drought, fires and other events that damage human settlements and ecosystems.As the damagingimpacts of climate change become worse and more apparent, people are morelikely to take measures to preserve lives and ecosystems, and may also considerintentional modification of the climate. Scientists have already conceivedtechnological ideas for climate engineering and provided some preliminaryassessments of these ideas.These techniques, called “geoengineering” or “climate engineering”,may be needed inthe future and even the Dalai Lama has endorsed research on whether any ofthese techniques might be effective, advisable and practical.

There is broadagreement that we need effective governing institutions to manage such apotentially risky technology but no credible prognosis has emerged to explain howsuch governance might emerge. Governance presents a challenge because thetechnology is highly problematic to manage and because existing institutionshave no clear mandate to make legitimate decisions about climate engineering forthe world.

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Copyright: © Lexxion Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
Source: Issue 03/2013 (September 2013)
Pages: 10
Price: € 41,65
Autor: Dr. Jane C. S. Long

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