Simon Nicholson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and director of the Global Environmental Politics program in the School of International Service at American University. His work focuses on global environmental governance, global food politics, and the politics of emerging technologies.
His work on climate engineering is informed by a deep sense of concern about the lack of effective response to climate change coming from mainstream political and social processes. At the same time, prior work on the politics of technology tells him that promising technological responses to complex social problems can too easily go awry, or can fail to fulfill expectations, or can be repurposed for ill-conceived or nefarious ends, or can entrench the very dynamics that drive the problems to which the technologies are attempting to respond. He brings, in other words, cautious optimism to the climate engineering conversation, with emphasis on “cautious.”
Among his publications, Nicholson is co-editor (with Sikina Jinnah) of New Earth Politics (MIT Press, 2016), and (with Paul Wapner) of Global Environmental Politics: From Person to Planet (Routledge, 2015).
Some Recent and Forthcoming Climate Engineering Publications
- “Solar Radiation Management: A Proposal for Immediate Polycentric Governance,” Climate Policy (2017) (with Sikina Jinnah and Alexander Gillespie).
- “Bioenergy and Carbon Capture with Storage (BECCS): The Prospects and Challenges of an Emerging Climate Policy Response,” Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (2017) vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 527-534 (with Wil Burns).
- “Climate Engineering: Governing Emergency Responses on a New Earth,” in Simon Nicholson and Sikina Jinnah (eds.), New Earth Politics (MIT Press, 2016) (with Wil Burns).
- “Reimagining Climate Engineering: The Politics of Tinkering with the Sky,” in Hilal Elver and Paul Wapner (eds.), Reimagining Climate Change, (Routledge, 2016).
- “Strange Bedfellows: Climate Engineering Politics in the United States” (Working Paper, April 2015) (with Michael Thompson).
- “The climate geoengineering genie — Why we all need to be paying attention,” Op Ed in The Hill, October 8, 2014.
- “Technology to the Planet’s Rescue?” – Op Ed in US News and World Report, June 6, 2014 (with Michael MacCracken).
- “A Civil Society Meeting on Geoengineering: Summary and Synthesis,” (December 2013) 24 pp., (with Michael Thompson, Wil Burns, and Kate Goodwin-Reese).
- “The Promises and Perils of Geoengineering,” in Erik Assadourian et al.,Worldwatch Institute: State of the World 2013 (Island Press, 2013) pp. 317-331.
See also: “Climate Geoengineering: Coming Soon to a Planet Near You,” talk for TEDx American University, May 24, 2014.