The Case for Public Roles in Climate Engineering Governance

Thursday, Apr. 05, 2018 - Saturday, Apr. 07, 2018

Where | Arizona State University

As global concerns about climate change grow and implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement ramps up, the portfolio of decisions that could be made by nations and cities to avert the most deleterious effects of climate change are so consequential and so long-lasting that public deliberation stands as both an ethical and practical requirement. The complexity of engaging both public and expert stakeholders has thus far posed enormous challenges. This workshop focuses on elevating attention to the theory and methods that empower collective deliberation over these complex, consequential decisions. Despite established theory and proven practice regarding public participation and engagement, citizen consultation, and related fields, their application to climate change management, and in particular to assessing geoengineering as part of the portfolio of policy options, remains nascent.

Current estimates of the emissions reductions needed to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement assume a role for climate geoengineering, including management of the solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the hope of restoring historical conditions over time. History suggests that interventions in large-scale, dynamic physical and biological earth systems almost always lead to unforeseen outcomes. Though these are not always detrimental, due diligence requires that decisions be taken with extreme care and proper vetting of foreseeable risks and tradeoffs as well as plausible unknowns and wild cards.

The profound implications of research and potential deployment of climate geoengineering approaches compel urgent attention to public participation at all stages of decision-making, from framing issues to evaluating options and scenarios, setting priorities, codifying decisions, and implementing policies and programs. Energy transitions, climate adaptation, and geoengineering strategies all fall within a continuum of decisions. How to effectively operationalize public engagement and diverse stakeholder participation in this context is quickly becoming one of the most imposing challenges of governance. In this workshop, we avoid a view of public engagement as popularizing scientific information, increasing public literacy about geoengineering for its own sake, or encouraging compliance; likewise, we are mindful of the political risks associated with “decide-announce-defend.” Rather, we envision processes that foster public learning, shared deliberation among public and expert stakeholders, and collaborative development of improved governance processes and outcomes around this incredibly important set of issues.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Case Critical: The Ethics of Climate Engineering
481 Wrigley Hall, Tempe Campus
4:30-5:45 pm [light refreshments served]

Wil Burns, Co-Executive Director, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, School of International Service, American University

Ryan Hanning, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Assistant Professor of Catholic & Theological Studies, University of Mary – Tempe

Christopher Cokinos, Associate Professor of English and Affiliated Faculty, Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona [co-moderator]

Elisabeth Graffy, Professor of Practice, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and Director, Spirituality and Sustainability Initiative, Arizona State University [co-moderator]

The 2015 Paris Agreement promotes low-carbon energy transitions , adaptation and infrastructural resilience, but it also assumes a role for “climate engineering”– a suite of actions to curb solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We explore the ethics of climate engineering through four lenses: legal protection of human rights, public policy, theology and moral action, and culture as ethical inquiry.

Workshop event

Pre-workshop dinner and drinks
6:30 pm 
Postino Annex – Reservations for 15, self-hosted
615 S College Ave, Tempe, AZ

The Graduate Hotel provides lodging for visiting participants
Address: 225 E Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 967-9431

There is a free hotel shuttle to and from Sky Harbor. Just call to make arrangements.             

One-Day Workshop

Friday, April 6, 2017

Room 240, Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB4), ASU Tempe Campus

8:00-8:45 am             Breakfast buffet and registration

8:45-9:00 am             Welcome

Elisabeth Graffy, School for the Future of Innovation in Society & ASU LightWorks Initiative, Arizona State University
Wil Burns, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment (FCEA), American University

9:00-9:30 am          What is Climate Engineering and Why Do We Need “Governance?”
                              Wil Burns FCEA, American University

9:30-10:00 am       Policy Contexts for Public Roles in Intentional Climate Intervention
                             Elisabeth Graffy, SFIS and LW, Arizona State University

10:00-10:15 am     Break

10:15-10:45 am     Building Public Capacity for Governance of Science and Technology Issues

Cynthia Selin
School for the Future of Innovation in Society & School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

10:45-11:30 pm        Framing Issues for Public Deliberation and Engagement: Geoengineering, Energy Transitions, and Climate/Technology Risk  

  • Holly Buck
    Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA
  • Alice Siu
    Center for Deliberative Democracy, Stanford University

11:30 –12:30 pm       Participatory Approaches: Rationales, Designs & Intended Uses

Moderator: Cynthia Selin

  • eCAST, Mahmud Farooque, ASU
  • World Wide Views, Netra Chetri, ASU
  • Policy Simulations, Drew Jones, Climate Interactive
  • GeoELive!, Aubrey Paris, ISGP & Princeton

12:30–1:30 pm          Lunch Buffet on site [with Dave Guston, SFIS Director]
1:30–2:45 pm            Lightning Roundtable: Choosing a Future without Dangerous Climate Change – Transitions, Innovations, and Moral Choices

Moderator: Diana Bowman, School of Law & School for the Future of Innovation in Society, ASU

  • Ellen Stechel, ASU LightWorks and School of Molecular Sciences
  • Chris Jones, ASU School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
  • Ryan Hanning, University of Mary – Tempe
  • Ariel Anbar, ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration