Simon Nicholson, PhD, 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.
Nicholson is co-editor (with Sikina Jinnah) of New Earth Politics (MIT Press, forthcoming Spring 2016), and (with Paul Wapner) of Global Environmental Politics: From Person to Planet (Paradigm Publishers, 2015).
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.”
Some Recent and Forthcoming Publications
- Climate Geoengineering Law and Governance (co-edited book, with Wil Burns and David Dana, under contract with Springer, delivery early 2018).
- “The Sunshade Dilemma: How a Focus on Solar Radiation Management has Distorted Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies,” in preparation for Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (with Wil Burns).
- Co-editor – special issue of the journal Environmental Politics on climate engineering governance (with Sikina Jinnah and Janos Pasztor).
- (with Wil Burns), “Climate Engineering: Governing Emergency Responses on a New Earth,” in Simon Nicholson and Sikina Jinnah (eds.),New Earth Politics (MIT Press, forthcoming 2016).
- “Reimagining Climate Engineering: The Politics of Tinkering with the Sky,” in Hilal Elver and Paul Wapner (eds.), Reimagining Climate Change, (Routledge, forthcoming 2016).
- (with Michael Thompson), “Strange Bedfellows: Climate Engineering Politics in the United States” (April 2015). Published as working paper at www.geoengineeringourclimate.com/2015/04/21/strange-bedfellows-climate-engineering-politics-in-the-united-states-opinion-article/.
- “The climate geoengineering genie — Why we all need to be paying attention,” Op Ed in The Hill, October 8, 2014.
- (with Michael MacCracken), “Technology to the Planet’s Rescue?” –Op Ed in US News and World Report, June 6, 2014.
- (with Michael Thompson, Wil Burns, and Kate Goodwin-Reese), “A Civil Society Meeting on Geoengineering: Summary and Synthesis,” (December 2013) report for the Washington Geoengineering Consortium. 24 pp. Available at http://ceassessment.org/civil-society-meeting-report/.
- “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.