Clash of Geofutures and the Remaking of Planetary Order: Faultlines underlying Conflicts over Geoengineering Governance
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article › Research › peer-review
Climate engineering (geoengineering) is rising up the global policy agenda, partly because international divisions pose deep challenges to collective climate mitigation. However, geoengineering is similarly subject to clashing interests, knowledge-tradi- tions and geopolitics. Modelling and technical assessments of geoengineering are facilitated by assumptions of a single global planner (or some as yet unspecified rational governance), but the practicality of international governance remains mostly spec- ulative. Using evidence gathered from state delegates, climate activists and modellers, we reveal three underlying and clash- ing ‘geofutures’: an idealised understanding of governable geoengineering that abstracts from technical and political realities; a situated understanding of geoengineering emphasising power hierarchies in world order; and a pragmatist precautionary understanding emerging in spaces of negotiation such as UN Environment Assembly (UNEA). Set in the wider historical con- text of climate politics, the failure to agree even to a study of geoengineering at UNEA indicates underlying obstacles to glo- bal rules and institutions for geoengineering posed by divergent interests and underlying epistemic and political differences. Technology assessments should recognise that geoengineering will not be exempt from international fractures; that deploy- ment of geoengineering through imposition is a serious risk; and that contestations over geofutures pertain, not only to cli- mate policy, but also the future of planetary order.
|Publication status||Published - 23 Jan 2021|