The Royal Society’s Geoengineering Report

by Holly Doremus

September 03, 2009

This item cross-posted by permission from Legal Planet.

We had a flurry of posts on geoengineering a while back (see here, here, here, and here). If you want to learn more about geoengineering, a great resource is this report, just issued by the Royal Society. It clearly explains the background, the approaches being proposed (which divide broadly into technologies for removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and technologies for reducing the input of solar radiation), and the risks associated with those approaches. The key conclusions include: (1) geoengineering is not a substitute for reducing GHG emissions; (2) more research should be done on geoengineering and dealing with its risks, in case “it becomes necessary to reduce the rate of warming this century”: (3) because of the risks, “Solar Radiation Management methods should not be applied unless there is a need to rapidly limit or reduce global average temperatures”; and (4) developing and implementing appropriate governance mechanisms may be the greatest challenge, and the international community should get to work on that as soon as possible. On that last issue, Al Lin at UC Davis has written a great short piece that offers some starting ideas for how a geoengineering governance scheme should be developed and what it should include.

Tagged as: geoengineering
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Holly Doremus is James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation; Faculty Co-Director, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment; and Director, Environmental Law Program at the University of California, Berkeley.

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