Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.

Chapter 36: Climate engineering

Anders Hansson, Steve Rayner and Victoria Wibeck

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


Climate engineering, or geoengineering, is receiving growing attention from both scientists and policymakers concerned with the slow progress of international negotiations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. However, scientists and climate activists seem sharply divided over the wisdom and practicality of climate engineering. The concept of climate engineering includes a wide range of different proposals for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or to reflect the sun’s light and heat back into space. These proposals differ widely with regards to technical feasibility and effectiveness, environmental risks, cost estimates, moral implications and governance challenges. However, all of the options face major challenges, not only concerning lack of understanding or inability to control the negative side-effects but also most ethical and governance issues are still unresolved. This chapter outlines and discusses governance challenges for climate engineering, and proposes some high-level principles for the governance of the field of climate engineering. Further, the chapter outlines recurrent ways in which climate engineering has been framed in public and scientific discourse and discusses how such framings may influence on the future of climate engineering. The chapter ends in a discussion about in which direction climate engineering would take future climate politics and governance.

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