The Regulation of Climate Engineering
Law, Innovation and Technology, Vol 3, No. 1, pp. 113-136, 2011
24 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011 Last revised: 30 Jan 2014
Date Written: April 18, 2011
Climate engineering, or geoengineering, is a group of proposals to intentionally intervene in global physical, chemical, and biological systems on a massive scale in order to reduce the threat of anthropogenic climate change. Climate engineering is receiving increasing attention, and research is moving forward. Regulation remains inadequate, and climate engineering presents significant regulatory challenges. Key to overcoming these challenges is distinguishing between the two primary forms of climate engineering, and between deployment and research. One of the two primary forms, carbon dioxide removal, can largely be addressed through existing legal instruments. In the case of the other primary form, solar radiation management, focusing initially on research can bypass the geopolitical quagmire of deployment. Because this is the approach of the SRM Governance Initiative, it holds potential for significant progress toward regulation of SRM research. Two particular challenges remain: establishing regulatory legitimacy, and developing an appropriate definition of research.
Keywords: climate engineering, geoengineering, climate change, environmental law, international law, regulation, research
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