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Guiding responsible research in geoengineering
Date:3/14/2013

s 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.


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Contact: Caroline Perry
cperry@seas.harvard.edu
617-496-1351
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert  

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