EuTRACE Policy Dialog: Do We Need International Governance of Climate Engineering?

Representation of the Land Brandenburg to the EU, Brussels, April 28, 2014

Climate engineering techniques might be capable of reducing some of the impacts of global climate change, but how can we avoid international tensions around research on such large-scale intentional interventions into the climate system?

On April 28, members of the EuTRACE (European Transdisciplinary Assessment of Climate Engineering) consortium met with representatives of the European Commission and other decision-makers to discuss the need for international governance of climate engineering. Suggestions from the participants for future policy pathways highlighted the need for international cooperation and transparency as essential cornerstones for the governance of climate engineering research. Policy options that were raised at the meeting include greater coordination between existing governance regimes such as the London Convention/London Protocol (LC/LP) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the taking into account of existing guiding principles of EU policy such as the precautionary principle, minimization of harms and the protection of the environment. Some participants suggested that international cooperation might be achieved at the level of funding agencies, for example through introducing the topic of climate engineering at the Belmont Forum. The Belmont Forum is the Council of Principals of the International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA), and is comprised of high-level representatives from major funding agencies across the globe.

The need for transdisciplinarity was also highlighted, recognizing the importance of including stakeholders from outside of academia already in the research process, for example when identifying relevant research questions.

EuTRACE is a FP7-funded project that assesses the potentials, implications, risks and uncertainties of climate engineering techniques, while engaging in continuous dialog with policy makers and representatives from civil society. Bringing together 14 partners from five European countries, EuTRACE draws on a breadth of interdisciplinary expertise to provide scientifically sound and socially relevant guidance to the European Union on options for policy development and future research pathways. The EuTRACE final report is scheduled to be released later this summer.

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