Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCLA, Harvard experts propose new structure to guide governance of geoengineering research

15.03.2013
Geoengineering, the use of human technologies to alter the Earth's climate system — such as injecting reflective particles into the upper atmosphere to scatter incoming sunlight back to space — has emerged as a potentially promising way to mitigate the impacts of climate change. But such efforts could present unforeseen new risks.

That inherent tension, argue two professors from UCLA and Harvard, has thwarted both scientific advances and the development of an international framework for regulating and guiding geoengineering research.

In an article to be published March 15 in the journal Science, Edward Parson of UCLA and David Keith of Harvard University outline how the current deadlock on governance of geoengineering research poses real threats to the sound management of climate risk. Their article advances concrete and actionable proposals for allowing further research — but not deployment — and for creating scientific and legal guidance, as well as addressing public concerns.

"We're trying to avoid a policy train wreck," said Keith, a professor of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard. "Informed policy judgments in the future require research now into geoengineering methods' efficacy and risks. If research remains blocked, in some stark future situation, only untested approaches will be available."

"Our proposals address the lack of international legal coordination that has contributed to the current deadlock," said Parson, a professor of law and faculty co-director of the Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA School of Law. "Coordinated international governance of research will both provide the guidance and confidence to allow needed, low-risk research to proceed and address legitimate public concerns about irresponsible interventions or a thoughtless slide into deployment."

In their paper, the authors state that progress on research governance must advance four aims:

Allow low-risk, scientifically valuable research to proceed.
Give scientists guidance on the design of socially acceptable research.
Address legitimate public concerns.
End the current legal void that facilitates rogue projects.

Parson and Keith argue that scientific self-regulation is not sufficient to manage risks and that scientists need to accept government authority over geoengineering research. They emphasize that initial steps should not require new laws or treaties but can come from informal consultation and coordination among governments.

The authors also propose defining two thresholds for governance of geoengineering research: a large-scale threshold to be subject to a moratorium and a separate, much smaller threshold below which research would be allowed. Keith, for example, is currently developing an outdoor experiment to test the risks and efficacy of stratospheric aerosol geoengineering, which would fall below the proposed allowable threshold.

The authors emphasize that this article proposes only first steps. In the near term, these steps frame a social bargain that would allow research to proceed; in the long term, they begin to build international norms of cooperation and transparency in geoengineering.

The paper is available to journalists through the American Association for the Advancement of Science's office of public affairs at 202-326-6440 or scipak@aaas.org.

The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences serves as the connector and integrator of Harvard's teaching and research efforts in engineering, applied sciences, and technology. Through collaboration with researchers from all parts of Harvard, other universities, and corporate and foundational partners, the school brings discovery and innovation directly to bear on improving human life and society.

The Harvard Kennedy School maintains an abiding commitment to advancing the public interest by training skilled, enlightened leaders and solving public problems through world-class scholarship and active engagement with practitioners and decision makers.

The UCLA School of Law, founded in 1949, is the youngest major law school in the nation and has established a tradition of innovation in its approach to teaching, research and scholarship. With approximately 100 faculty and 1,100 students, the school pioneered clinical teaching, is a leader in interdisciplinary research and training and is at the forefront of efforts to link research to its effects on society and the legal profession.

Lauri Gavel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>