Geoengineering, the deliberate altering of the earth's climate, represents a risky and, for many, a frightening proposition. But the concept has attracted increasing interest in recent years because of its potential ability to transform the portfolio of options for limiting the magnitude of future climate change. In contrast to most approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, some geoengineering approaches could prove fast acting and inexpensive and could be deployed by one or a few nations without global cooperation. These characteristics present significant challenges for risk management, national security, and international governance that have only just begun to be seriously considered. This report provides an initial examination and comparison of the risks associated with alternative international approaches the United States might pursue to govern solar radiation management geoengineering research and deployment. To handle the extensive, wide-ranging uncertainties, the authors employ a multiscenario vulnerability and response option analysis specifically designed to identify scenarios in which alternative U.S. government policies toward geoengineering governance might fail to meet their goals. In particular, the study used a simple simulation model to conduct the first steps of a robust decisionmaking analysis in order to identify some of the risks of three commonly debated near-term approaches to managing geoengineering: establishing strong norms for research, banning research entirely, or leaving research unregulated.
Table of Contents
Governance and Security Challenges
A Vulnerability-and-Response-Option Analysis Framework for a Risk Assessment of Geoengineering Governance
Identifying the Vulnerabilities of Alternative U.S. Geoengineering Governance Policies
Conclusions and Next Steps
Types of Geoengineering Technologies
Conditional Probability Tables