About the project

The Climate Geoengineering Governance project is a research collaboration between researchers from the Universities of Oxford, Sussex and University College London (UCL), with funding from two UK research councils, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Our research is planned to run from July 2012 to September 2014. On these pages you will find details of the research team, our project’s aims and architecture, project news and events, and in due time our results and publications. Some further contacts and links complete the site, including links to parallel and complementary research projects.

The Royal Society Working Group’s definition of climate geoengineering as “the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change” is a reasonable starting point. Our purpose to examine the governance arrangements that may be needed to ensure that experimentation or deployment of any of the large range of geoengineering techniques being proposed are safe, fair, effective and economic. As academic researchers we advocate none of these approaches.

The roots of the research lie in the Oxford Principles on Geoengineering Governance . Principle 2 calls for public participation in geoengineering decision-making and principle 3 openness and disclosure with regards to research. We will be following these precepts in our research through this website and a programme of meetings with major stakeholders in this country and in China, India, Africa and Brazil. We look forward to your comments on what we do.

Why research geoengineering governance?

Human-induced climate change poses threats to the survival and livelihoods of many peoples across the world. Early debate on possible responses focused on mitigation, in which we try to reduce carbon emissions by consuming less energy or by reducing the carbon in the energy produced. In the last decade there has also been increasing discussion of adaptation, in which we also try to see what changes we could make to better cope with climate change. Under discussion now is a third option – the use of geoengineering to directly modify the planet’s climate.

This research responds to the quickening international interest in the third option, and to recommendations of the report Geoengineering the climate (Royal Society, 2009) and the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology report on The Regulation of Geoengineering (House of Commons, 2010). The UK Government response to this latter report concludes “Much further research will be needed into the science and technologies of geoengineering…before they could be considered for deployment. We consider regulatory arrangements, including guiding principles, for geoengineering research do need to be developed as soon as possible…” (UK Government, 2010, p.11). Recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that it will include geoengineering in its Fifth Assessment Report (2014).

This project hopes to make a significant contribution in laying out some of the key considerations for geoengineering governance, in a timely manner as the Oxford Principles  prescribe, so that robust governance structures are already in place before deployment.