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November 15, 2010
Volume 88, Number 46
p. 9
DOI: 10.1021/CEN111110124910

Geoengineering: Guidelines Recommended For Climate Intervention Experiments

Cheryl Hogue

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To encourage responsible research on geoengineering, a panel of scientists is recommending principles for inquiry into large-scale technologies to restrain rapid climate change.

These suggestions arose from the Asilomar International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies, held in Pacific Grove, Calif., in March (C&EN, April 5, page 11). The conference’s scientific organizing committee issued its recommendations in a report last week.

As an overarching principle, the primary purpose of research to develop and evaluate geoengineering technologies must be the collective benefit of humankind and the environment, the report says.

It recommends that countries establish international governance and oversight for large-scale field tests that could significantly modify the environment or affect society. Governance should include a liability-and-compensation system for inadvertent harms caused by large-scale experiments, the report says.

But international oversight isn’t needed for all geoengineering research, it cautions. “Modeling and laboratory studies pose little to no risk of impact to the climate, environment, or society,” it explains.

Meanwhile, research on geoengineering should be conducted openly and cooperatively, the report continues. Currently, descriptions aren’t publicly available for all investigations into climate-controlling technologies, it says. Plus, research is not now coordinated.

The public needs to be involved in decisions about any large-scale geoengineering projects, the report says. “The broad environmental, societal, and even cultural implications of climate engineering require public consultation and participation in decisions about major field experiments.”

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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