Disruptive Discourse: Negotiating the Boundaries of Geoengineering Research
Steve Rayner (University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores competing framings of geoengineering and the boundary work involved in redefining technological proposals to include or exclude them from any emerging governance framework. The paper explores the implications of this definitional politics for geoengineering research and policy.
Paper long abstract:
Disruptive Discourse explores the competing framings of "geoengineering" and the boundary work involved in redefining a range of highly heterogeneous technological imaginaries to include or exclude them from any emerging governance framework for research and development. The very idea of containing such heterogeneity in a single category of geoengineering is contested, as is what specific technologies, if any, should count as geoengineering as distinct from mitigation and adaptation. Advocates of some technological practices seek to avoid the geoengineering label out of concern that they will be subject to further regulation, while others lobby for inclusion as a perceived route to unlock R&D funding. The paper explores the origins, dynamics and implications of this definitional politics for geoengineering research and climate policy and summarizes a bottom-up approach to building a responsible framework for research governance. It concludes by highlighting how the prospect of geoengineering is potentially disruptive to well-established political alignments in climate policy discourse and asks not only what geoengineering can do for the climate but also what the climate geoengineering governance discourse can do for society.
Tackling climate change by other means: opening up geoengineering governance