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Going Rogue? Scenarios for Unilateral Geoengineering

Rabitz, Florian. 2016. Going Rogue? Scenarios for Unilateral Geoengineering. Futures 84(A): 98-107

Abstract

The unilateral use of technologies for counteracting global warming is regarded as a threat by decision-makers, academics and the wider public, yet existing studies do not address the scenario in a systematic manner. I develop a conceptual framework for the study of unilateral geoengineering which distinguishes different types of actors, their capacities and decision-making contexts. Focusing on Ocean Iron Fertilization and Stratospheric Aerosol Injections, I develop several short- and long-term scenarios in which actors are conceivably both willing and able to deploy those technologies on a scale sufficient for impacting the climate system. Beyond being the first paper to develop a systematic approach to unilateral geoengineering, I show that some scenarios which stir public concern are implausible.

Keywords: geoengineering, climate change, ocean iron fertilization, stratospheric aerosol injections, unilateralism

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