Towards an interdisciplinary knowledge community on the critical understanding of emergent climate system intervention technologies in Southeast Asia
On 8 and 9 November 2019, SRMGI (the Degrees Initiative) partnered with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and Boston University to organise a workshop on SRM and CDR governance in South East Asia. The invitation-only event brought together 22 participants from across the region, who worked together over 1.5 days to develop concrete steps forward for how South East Asia might engage with SRM.
The workshop was the brainchild of Dr Laurence Delina, who approached SRMGI/Degrees in early 2018 with an idea for an event. Laurence is a Filipino academic with a background in engineering and science & technology studies (STS), and affiliations both at HKUST and Boston University. His research explores governance arrangements in the politics and policy of sustainability, focusing on sustainable energy transitions and rapid climate mitigation. He proposed a workshop for South East Asian scholars, bringing them up to speed on solar geoengineering and carbon removal technologies and asking them to develop proposals for how the region might engage further with research and research governance. SRMGI/Degrees doesn’t usually work on carbon geoengineering, mainly because its governance challenges are very different to those of SRM. But Laurence’s wider vision was compelling: building a South East Asian response to the challenges of carbon and solar geoengineering, making sure that the climate-vulnerable region develops its own informed, collaborative and transdisciplinary governance response. We were therefore pleased to partner with him and let him design the agenda and the participant list as he wished.
The workshop was held in Bali, and the list of participants was impressively diverse in terms of geography, sector and academic focus. While everyone was experienced in their respective fields, most were new to carbon and solar geoengineering, and so the first morning of the workshop was a chance to learn and calibrate. All participants had worked through a conference reading list and had filled out a pre-workshop survey, which charted their perceptions of the climate challenge and potential responses to it, including carbon and solar geoengineering. Responses were reviewed in plenary before a morning of intensive briefings, delivered by videoconference from experts around the world. Following the briefings, the participants got down to work in self-organised groups. They started by identifying and charting priorities for research and governance in South East Asia, then focused in on concrete next steps. After 1.5 days of intensive exchange, the teams presented their proposals.