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Engineering the Climate: Geoengineering as a Challenge to International Governance
Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review
  • David A. Wirth, Boston College Law School
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The challenge of global climate change has attracted recommendations for remediation from a number of professions, including engineering. The possibilities suggested for “geoengineering” the climate generally fall into one of two categories: (1) carbon capture and storage; and (2) solar radiation management. Specific and often controversial proposals include the aerial dispersion of aerosols, launching reflective gratings into orbit around the Earth, and seeding the oceans with iron filings. These proposals share a number of characteristics, including the following: (1) they can often be undertaken within the territorial jurisdiction of a single state or in areas beyond national jurisdiction; (2) they are likely to, and are intended to, have extrajurisdictional – indeed global – effects; and (3) they are largely unregulated at the international level. This article examines the existing international governance structures to address geoengineering and concludes that they are inadequate to the task. After reviewing those modest international measures that have been adopted to regulate climate geoengineering proposals, the piece makes recommendations for structural adaptations in international governance to address the problem.
Citation Information
David A. Wirth. "Engineering the Climate: Geoengineering as a Challenge to International Governance" Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review Vol. 40 Iss. 2 (2013) p. 413 - 437
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