A sociotechnical framework for governing geoengineering
(University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
Proposed ways of governing geoengineering have most often been supported by narrowly framed and unreflexive appraisals. This paper explores the implications of a Deliberative Mapping project that, unlike other principles, have emerged from an extensive process of reflection and reflexivity.
Paper long abstract:
Proposed ways of governing climate geoengineering have most often been supported by narrowly framed and unreflexive appraisals and processes. Together with boundary work carried out by other academics and learned societies, these principles have served to legitimize geoengineering research as an object of governance. In doing so, they bypass 'technologies of humility' that would see broad participation in their very definition and implicitly reject one critical alternative pathway: that research not be undertaken at all. This paper explores the governance implications of a Deliberative Mapping project that, unlike other governance principles, have emerged from an extensive process of reflection and reflexivity. In turn, the project has made significant advances in addressing the current deficit of responsibly defined criteria for shaping governance propositions. Three such propositions are offered. The first is that reflexive foresight of the imagined futures in which geoengineering proposals might reside is required. The second is that the performance and acceptance of geoengineering proposals should be decided in terms of robustness, not optimality. The third is that geoengineering proposals should be satisfactorily 'opened up' before they can be considered legitimate objects of governance. The implications and challenges for responsibly governing specific geoengineering proposals are then discussed. Taken together, the propositions in this paper offer a sociotechnical framework not simply for governing geoengineering but for governing responses to climate change at large.
Tackling climate change by other means: opening up geoengineering governance