Skip to main content
Global Artificial Photosynthesis: A Scientific and Legal Introduction.
Journal of Law and Medicine (2011)
  • Thomas A Faunce, Australian National University

With the global human population set to exceed 10 billion by 2050, its collective energy consumption to rise from 400 to over 500 EJ/yr and with the natural environment under increasing pressure from these sources as well as from anthropogenic climate change, political solutions such as the creation of an efficient carbon price and trading scheme may arrive too late. In this context, the scientific community is exploring technological remedies. Central to these options is artificial photosynthesis – the creation, particularly through nanotechnology, of devices capable to doing what plants have done for millions of years – transforming sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into food and fuel. While a Global Artificial Photosynthesis (GAP) project can raise the public profile and encourage the pace, complexity and funding of scientific collaborations in artificial photosynthesis research, it is also important to shape the governance architecture of this new environmental and public health-related technology so that it fits foundational social virtues such as justice, equity and (increasingly) sustainability. The legal architecture of a GAP project will be critical if issues such as state sovereignty over energy and food resources and corporate intellectual monopoly privileges inhibit the important contribution of artificial photosynthesis to global public health and environmental sustainability. The article presents an introduction to the scientific and legal concepts behind a GAP project.

  • Artificial photosynthesis,
  • Solar fuels,
  • Renewable energy,
  • Common Heritage of Humanity
Publication Date
Citation Information
Thomas A Faunce. "Global Artificial Photosynthesis: A Scientific and Legal Introduction." Journal of Law and Medicine Vol. 19 (2011)
Available at: