Climate Engineering Conference 2017


Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment presented early findings from its Academic Working Group on the Governance of Climate Engineering at the 2017 Climate Engineering Conference in Berlin, Germany this month. Three members of the working group, Andrew Light, Leslie Thiele, and Prakash Kashwan, outlined the five governance objectives identified by the group and presented recommendations to policymakers. The group has identified five central objectives for the governance of solar geoengineering research in the next five years:

  • Develop the capacity for substantive assessments of the potential physical and social risks and benefits that would be involved in developing or deploying SRM.
  • Enable appropriate development of scientific knowledge in the public interest.
  • Ensure that to the extent that SRM is considered as a response to climate change, it [SRM] is considered only as one piece of a broader climate policy portfolio.
  • Develop the institutional architecture that would be needed to govern any deployment of SRM.
  • Enable broad-based, democratic governance of SRM.

The group presented several recommendations aimed at national and international policymakers, including establishing a clearinghouse for climate engineering research and establishing a Global Forum for public engagement.

“CEC demonstrated the need for an authoritative report on SRM governance,” says FCEA co-executive director Simon Nicholson. “We look forward to working with the scientists, policymakers, and civil society leaders present at CEC to engage with the short-term policy changes we are recommending.”

The report will be published in the summer of 2018.

Public engagement panel

FCEA managing director Michael Thompson and FCEA scholar in residence Jane Flegal convened a panel on public engagement. There was a surprising focus on public education instead of deliberative public engagement, with many citing methodological challenges, including lack of public familiarity & frame effects.

Teaching panel

FCEA Faculty Fellow David Morrow organized a panel on teaching climate engineering. Participants identified key learning objectives, including the definition, context, and ethics of SRM and CDR, and several learning activities, including debates, mock briefings, and simulations.