Research Workshop Conducted by the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements with the support of and in collaboration with Harvard's Solar Geoengineering Research Program
The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements has released a volume of 26 briefs that explores a range of topics related to how we might govern the deployment of solar geoengineering. “Solar geoengineering” (SG) refers to the deliberate alteration of the earth’s radiative balance in order to reduce the risks attributed to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The method most commonly discussed as technically plausible and potentially effective involves adding aerosols to the lower stratosphere, where they would reflect some (~1%) incoming sunlight back to space.
This type of SG — and possibly some others — are associated with incentive structures that are the inverse of those for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The latter is a global commons problem, the structure of which requires cooperation at the highest jurisdictional level (that is, international cooperation) in order to advance mitigation adequately. It has been challenging to design and implement institutions and agreements to support such multilateral cooperation.
In contrast, certain types of SG can — in principle — be implemented effectively at relatively low financial cost — low enough to be borne by small states or non-state entities acting on their own. The impacts of such action, however, might be substantial, at regional or even global scales. These could include the intended beneficial effect — decreased global average surface temperature — plus other, potentially adverse side effects. Given the incentive structure associated with SG, its potentially substantial impacts, and the uncertainty (of various kinds) surrounding it, the governance of SG deployment will also be difficult — though the challenges will be quite different from those associated with encouraging emissions reduction.
With this in mind, in September 2018, the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements hosted a workshop on “Governance of the Deployment of Solar Geoengineering,” with collaboration and support from Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program (SGRP). Participants included 26 leading academic researchers addressing the workshop’s topic — as well as scholars who had considered the governance of other international regimes that might provide lessons and insights. The briefs in this volume are based in large part on presentations by the authors at the workshop.
Full text of "Governance of the Deployment of Solar Geoengineering"
Agenda and Participant List: Download workshop agenda here.
Participant Bios: Download participant bios here.
The Science and Technology of Solar Geoengineering: A Compact Summary
David Keith, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. Faculty Director, Harvard's Solar Geoengineering Research Program
Peter Irvine, Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Science and Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Status update on--and insights from--research in the social sciences on The Governance of SG Deployment
Scott Barrett, Lenfest - Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Response to Scott Barrett
Stefan Shafer, Research Group Leader, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam
Response to Scott’s status update on social science research
Gernot Wagner, Research Associate and Executive Director, Harvard's Solar Geoengineering Research Program
Solar Geoengineering and International Law
Daniel Bodansky, Regent's Professor, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
Why Think About Geoengineering Now? Time is Much Shorter than Most Think
John P. Holdren, Teresa & John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Harvard University
Thinking about SG – an economic perspective: Governance of the Deployment of Solar Geoengineering ConferenceAdditional graph
Martin Weitzman, Research Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Thinking About Climate Change – An Economic Perspective
James Stock, Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy , Harvard University
Criteria for decision making on deployment (Questions 1-3)
Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School
Public Perceptions of SG deployment and implications for governance
Dustin Tingley, Professor of Government, Harvard University
Links to debates on Kialo (also within presentation):
Institutional venues for governance of SG deployment (Questions 4-5)
David Victor, Professor of International Relations, School of Global Policy and Strategy, U.C. San Diego
Governing Solar Radiation Management
Sikina Jinnah, Associate Professor of Politics, U.C. Santa Cruz
Uncertainty, Ignorance and Solar Geoengineering
Richard Zeckhauser, Frank Plumpton Ramsey Professor of Political Economy, Harvard Kennedy School
Governance of SG deployment under conditions of uncertainty – Response
Daniel Heyen, Postdoctoral Researcher, Chair of Integrative Risk Management and Economics, ETH Zurich
Impossible problems in solar geoengineering impacts assessment?
Kate Ricke, Assistant Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy, U.C. San Diego
How might we best define a research agenda for the governance of SG deployment?
Jesse Reynolds, Emmett/Frankel Fellow in Environmental Law and Policy, UCLA School of Law
David Keith, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. Faculty Director, Harvard's Solar Geoengineering Research Program.
Download high-resolution group photo here.