The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment is an initiative of the School of International Service at American University in Washington DC. Our overarching objective is to assess the social, ethical, political, and legal implications of emerging technologies that fall under the broad rubric of climate engineering (sometimes referred to as “climate geoengineering”). We produce high-quality and policy-relevant research and commentary, and work in a variety of ways to ensure that the climate engineering conversation maintains a focus on issues of justice, equity, agency, and inclusion.
In 2015 and 2016, a bill was introduced in the Rhode Island House of Representatives to regulate climate geoengineering — an attempt that caught many by surprise, as legislating a technology with global impacts on the state level is a novel approach. In this forum, science and technology policy experts and political scientists discuss this move: its drawbacks, merits, and lessons learned.
While many general human rights articulated in international law are of consequence for geoengineering research and development, the normative framework of the right to science has particular relevance. This right has the potential to enhance accountability, transparency and participation, particularly in addressing the socio-technical risks associated with early research and innovation processes.
Much of the discussion about the appropriateness or usefulness of geoengineering has relied upon a shared assumption about who might end up deploying these new tools- rich and powerful nations. But what if weak and less powerful nations deploy geoengineering to defend themselves against climate impacts?
Overall, taking a closer look at the non-ideal-theoretic reasons for climate engineering weakens the argument for SRM but strengthens the argument for CDR—especially if it were used in ways that prevent climate policy from making it harder for the global poor to lift themselves out of poverty.
The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment (FCEA) at American University is pleased to announce the launch of a multi-year look at international governance pathways for Solar Radiation Management (SRM) technologies.