The geopolitics of negative emissions
(Technische Universität Darmstadt)
Paper short abstract:
In this article, we scrutinize several NETs through the analytical lens of geopolitics, asking which geopolitical challenges and potential consequences their large scale deployment would have.
Paper long abstract:
Negative emissions technologies (NETs) have garnered increasing interest in recent years, in particular following the 2015 UNFCCC Paris Agreement and the most recent IPCC Assessment Report. In this article, we apply the analytical lens of geopolitics to answer the following research question: Which geopolitical challenges and potential consequences would the large scale deployment of NETs have? As this question cannot be answered completely yet - as NETs have, so far, not been deployed on a large scale - we turn to the two cases of Renewable Energies (RE) and REDD+ for answers. The two cases share important similarities with various types of NET which we exploit in order to gain a first answer to our research question. We find that, first, various NETs would have a classic geopolitical impact due to their requirements of territory. Second, the material requirements of various NETs might also impact geopolitical constellations, providing certain countries and regions of the world with new leverage in the case of large scale deployment. Third, the discursive construction of space and identity which would take place in the wake of large-scale use might lead to very interesting new conflict patterns in its own right.
The politics of negative emissions