Regulation, Assessment and Public Discourse on Geoengineering

laptop in the clouds

A major success of the 2010 Cancun climate negotiations was the agreement to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. However, political will to implement this agreement is still lacking and current efforts would not attain the 2°C target. As consequence, the debate on climate engineering (CE) – direct interventions in the global climate, also known as geoengineering – has gathered momentum in recent years.

However, the risks of CE, including many unintended consequences, remain difficult to predict. As with climate change, CE could drastically impact livelihoods around the world. Aside from the ethical questions this generates, the trans-boundary nature of CE may also create conflicts. As a consequence, the question emerges as to whether research into CE is desirable, particularly as even performing experiments can be risky.

The Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) therefore contracted an expert group led by the Kiel Earth Institute to produce a report on various aspects of CE. The focus of the assessment was on legal ramifications, risk analysis and analysis of the public and political discourse surrounding CE. adelphi contributed in with its knowledge of the perspectives and perceptions of selected non-OECD countries.