Accepted Paper:

Techno-fixes in theory and (political) practice: conditions and challenges for policy implementation  


Felix Schenuit (German Institute for International and Security Affairs)
Oliver Geden (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology)

Paper short abstract:

Geoengineering research still neglects the question how techno-fixes fit in the dominant climate policy paradigm. A differentiation between conditions of integrating geoengineering in conceptual thinking and conditions of practical governance helps to reflect on techno-fixes' policy relevance.

Paper long abstract:

Anticipated policy relevance of geoengineering technologies motivates an increasing number of academics and external funding sources to invest research capacities in so-called techno-fixes for climate change. Within the emerging research field, one crucial - but so far underexposed - question is: Which particular (use of) technology will be compatible with the dominant climate policy paradigm? Although a final answer is not possible yet, working on the following two questions could contribute to narrowing-down the main challenges in dealing with research and governance practices around different geoengineering technologies.

A systematic differentiation between the conditions of development and incorporation of technologies in conceptual thinking on the one hand, and conditions of practical geoengineering-governance in the dominant climate policy paradigm on the other, could fruitfully contribute to the research field. We hereby extend the question of how geoengineering futures come to be known by questioning conditions, challenges, potentials and prerequisites of the policy implementation of techno-fixes.

In addition, STS can contribute to academic research on geoengineering by shedding a light on the spatiality and embeddedness of co-production processes of knowledge and governance on techno-fixes. Reminding the emerging transnational geoengineering community of the fact that "societies vary in their conceptions of public reason" (Jasanoff) would be crucial to close the gap between thinking geoengineering conceptually and an awareness for varying realities of governance processes within the dominant climate policy paradigm.

Panel C18
Open questions in STS and geoengineering