Governance of Solar Geoengineering: Linking International Climate Policies

10 December 2019 16:00 – 17:30

Bistro area (ground floor)– Vening Meineszgebouw A., Princetonlaan 8a, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Attendance open for all – registration is required and open via our website.

The Earth System Governance Speaker Series at Utrecht University is excited to host author and scholar Dr Jesse Reynolds of University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, who will share his insights on the governance of solar geoengineering with regard to international climate policies, followed by a discussion by Wageningen University’s Dr Aarti Gupta.

Climate change is one of the most complex and urgent challenges facing humankind; yet to date, solutions based on emission cuts or adapting to new climates remain elusive. One set of proposals receiving increasing attention among scientists and policymakers is ‘solar geoengineering’, a collection of technological methods aimed to intervene in the atmosphere to reflect small portions of incoming sunlight to reduce climate change effects.

Solar geoengineering, if deployed, would go against the long-held norm within environmental management and policy approaches that less intervention in environmental systems is often the best solution. While some evidence indicates that solar geoengineering could be effective, inexpensive and technologically feasible, it remains controversial. Critics highlight that solar geoengineering research, development or use might inappropriately displace efforts to abate greenhouse gas emissions. Others raise questions about the viability in governing, legitimizing and scaling solar geoengineering, particularly in the context of state cooperation in the international community.

Governance of solar geoengineering thus plays a crucial role for the future deployment as an international climate change policy solution. In this talk, Dr Reynolds addresses the critique of solar geoengineering and examines the possible governance solutions to abridge the obstacles to the deployment of solar geoengineering. Following the presentation by Dr Reynolds, the normative and analytical questions relating to the governance of solar geoengineering will be discussed by Dr Aarti Gupta of Wageningen University.

The event will be followed by an informal drink for registered participants.

About the speakers

Dr Jesse Reynolds researches and teaches how society can manage environmental opportunities and challenges, particularly those involving new technologies. Dr Reynolds is also exploring the roles of new biotechnologies, such as gene drives and artificial intelligence, in the conservation of biodiversity and facilitating sustainability more generally. He is an Emmett / Frankel Fellow in Environmental Law and Policy at the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. He is also an associate researcher at the Utrecht Center for Water, Oceans, and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University and a research affiliate at Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program, Harvard University. Dr Reynolds is the author of numerous publications and articles and has just recently published his new book, The Governance of Solar Geoengineering: Managing Climate Change in the Anthropocene with Cambridge University Press.

Dr Aarti Gupta is an Associate Professor with the Environmental Policy Group at the Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University. Her research focuses on global environmental governance, with a focus on anticipatory governance of novel technologies and the (contested) role of science and knowledge therein, as well as questions of transparency and accountability. Her empirical focus includes climate change, deforestation and safe use of biotechnology. Dr Gupta is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Earth System Governance Project and among others co-founder of the Project’s Taskforce on Anticipatory Governance. She has done extensive research on the social and political aspects of geoengineering and is a member of the Academic Working Group on International Governance of Climate Engineering.

The Earth System Governance Speaker Series at Utrecht University is part of the broader global network, the Earth System Governance Project, which is hosted by Utrecht’s Faculty of Geosciences.

We ask you to please register for the seminar on the following link