Governance of Climate Engineering

Many scientists and political leaders are seriously considering the possibility of attempting to cool the Earth through “geoengineering” as a means of combating climate change. The proposals range from seeding the ocean with fertilizing agents to promote the growth of CO2-absorbing algae to injecting sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere to reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the planet’s surface.

All proposed geoengineering approaches involve unknown risks and the possibility of harmful environmental consequences or adverse weather effects. These adverse consequences could have their greatest impact in countries that did not participate in the geoengineering activity, and may even have opposed it.

This study is aimed at identifying legal norms, principles, and governance structures that can be used or applied to ensure that decisions about geoengineering are made in a way that facilitates international cooperation and minimizes international conflict.