Geoengineering – Science, Ethics, Politics and Governance
In October 2011, SRMGI (the Degrees Initiative) partnered with two Indian NGOs – the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), and the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) – to run a day-long workshop in Delhi. CEEW is a Delhi-based policy research institute working on global challenges such as sustainable growth and development, through research on energy, environment, and water. Based in Bangalore, CSTEP is a multi-disciplinary policy research organization that seeks to enrich policy-making for a sustainable, secure and inclusive society.
The workshop brought together local participants working on environment, climate and development issues, including representatives from:
- The Indian Department for International Development
- Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
- World Bank
- The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
- The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
- Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF)
The agenda was developed by the meeting’s three co-convening organizations, and it encouraged participants to explore questions on the research, development and governance of solar geoengineering, including:
- What are the ethical concerns associated with geoengineering, whether research, deployment or governance?
- What are the material interests that countries have with regard to promoting, regulating or prohibiting geoengineering research?
- What processes do we need to govern geoengineering, extending from different stages and scales of research to potential deployment?
- What criteria would define the success and failure of geoengineering research and deployment? For example, how would we determine at what level of CO2 the deployment of geoengineering technologies should cease – and with what consequences
Arunabha Ghosh, the Chief Executive of CEEW, and Anshu Bharadwaj, the Executive Director of CSTEP, gave welcoming addresses before and moving the discussion onto scientific, ethical and governance issues surrounding SRM and its research.
David Keith (Harvard University and the SRMGI working group) gave an introduction to the science of SRM, and Prof Govindasamy Bala (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore) briefed participants on SRM research in India. Participants discussed the technical dimensions of SRM research before Dr T. Jayaraman (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai) chaired a panel of Indian social scientists exploring some of the ethical and governance issues raised by SRM. Following a review of the regulatory challenges for SRM research, participants broke into small groups to think through the practicalities of SRM governance with scenario exercises.