Climate Engineering Research: A Precautionary Response to Climate Change?

Carbon and Climate Law Review 2/2013

Tilburg Law School Research Paper No. 025/2013

8 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2013 Last revised: 3 Feb 2015

See all articles by Jesse L Reynolds

Jesse L Reynolds

University of California, Los Angeles School of Law; Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University School of Law

Floor Fleurke

Tilburg University

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Reynolds, Jesse L and Fleurke, Floor, Climate Engineering Research: A Precautionary Response to Climate Change?. Carbon and Climate Law Review 2/2013, Tilburg Law School Research Paper No. 025/2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2340906

Jesse L Reynolds (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University School of Law ( email )

3508 TC Utrecht
Utrecht
Netherlands

Floor Fleurke

Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC Noord-Brabant 5000 LE
Netherlands

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