Climate Engineering Research: A Precautionary Response to Climate Change?
Carbon and Climate Law Review 2/2013
8 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2013 Last revised: 3 Feb 2015
In the face of dire forecasts for anthropogenic climate change, climate engineering is increasingly discussed as a possible additional set of responses to reduce climate change’s threat. These proposals have been controversial, in part because they – like climate change itself – pose uncertain risks to the environment and human well-being. Under these challenging circumstances of potential catastrophe and risk-risk trade-off, it is initially unclear to what extent precaution is applicable. We examine what precaution is and is not, and make a prima facie case that climate engineering may provide means to reduce climate risks. When precaution is applied to the currently pertinent matter of small to moderate scale climate engineering field tests, we conclude that precaution encourages them, despite their potential risks.
Keywords: climate change, climate engineering, geoengineering, precaution, precautionary principle, international environmental law
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