Geoengineering – the deliberate large-scale alteration of the Earth’s environment to counteract climate change through greenhouse gas removal or altering the Earth’s reflectivity – is receiving increasing attention from policy-makers and researchers as a potential means to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
As climate-related weather extremes continue and if progress towards decarbonisation proceeds at its current pace, policy-makers may begin to consider geoengineering as an emergency ‘plan B’ to reduce adverse effects of climate change.
The cross-border nature of geoengineering points to the need to engage developing countries in discussions about research, governance and potential deployment, as well as the need for a new approach for decision-making about geoengineering.
This working paper finds that so far engagement by developing countries in discussion about geoengineering has been limited. More support is needed to enable developing countries to assess the costs and benefits of geoengineering, including the potential for unintended consequences.
Longer term, any geoengineering research and governance arrangements that are agreed and put into practice may have important implications for climate governance and broader interventions to manage risks associated with other planetary boundaries.