In response to the global failure to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, some scientists are proposing geoengineering as a solution to global climate change. Geoengineering can be regarded as a “technological solution”: the large-scale deliberate manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract climate change. The development of technology to intervene in the Earth’s climate systems invites many moral and political questions, which can be broadly divided into three categories: Ethical questions concern the appropriate relationship with/attitude towards the non-human “natural” world. An example is the question: is geoengineering hubristic? Questions of distributive justice concern the distribution of benefits and burdens of geoengineering. For example, is geoengineering justifiable as a means of providing ways for future generations to avoid dangerous climate change? What priority should it be given compared to mitigation and adaptation? How should foreseeable and any unforeseeable costs of a decision to deploy a geoengineering technology be distributed? Questions of procedural justice consider the national and international governance mechanisms that might be necessary to ensure that a decision to deploy geoengineering is legitimate. Could unilateral deployment of a geoengineering technique be permissible and if so in what circumstances?
Geoengineering research is in its infancy but development of technology powerful enough to affect the global climate is likely to invite political controversy. This workshop aims to start the rigorous investigation of the issues that might arise with the development of geoengineering technologies by inviting contributions on the ethics and politics of geoengineering.