Tackling climate change by other means: opening up geoengineering governance
Rob Bellamy (University of Oxford)
Thursday 1 September, 14:00-15:45, 16:00-17:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

Geoengineering is seen as a way to cut through diplomatic barriers that impede and weaken progress on tackling climate change. This session examines the geoengineering techno-fix as 'politics by other means', seeking to explicate dilemmas of control and framings by diverse collectives.

Long abstract:

The Paris Agreement has set out global commitments to keep the world's average temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to strive for limiting the increase to 1.5°C. Climate modelling research has shown that these ambitions are not physically possible without deploying geoengineering technologies: deliberate large-scale interventions in the Earth's climate system for removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or reflecting sunlight away from the Earth. Geoengineering is seen by many as a way to cut through the diplomatic barriers that impede and weaken progress through international negotiations. Yet, as science and technology studies scholars have observed, this tackling climate change by other, technological means, is only 'politics by other means'. Indeed, the British Royal Society argued that the acceptability of these proposals will be determined as much by social, political, legal, and ethical issues as by scientific and technical factors. This session brings together scholars working to explicate framings and foresight of geoengineering by diverse collectives, dilemmas of technology control, and governance and regulatory choices. Papers will address a range of pressing questions: what does it mean to take responsibility for the world's climate? How can scientists take better care of the futures they help create? How do experts and publics evaluate and make sense of geoengineering? What elements are necessary for conducting responsible geoengineering research and experimentation? How can we better anticipate the shifting governance needs of speculative sociotechnical systems?