Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative

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Preparing for UNEA-4

January 21, 2019

The fourth meeting of the UN Environment Assembly, in Nairobi from 11-15 March, could offer a significant moment on the road to international governance for large-scale carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation modification.

Switzerland has indicated it will submit a draft resolution on “geoengineering and its governance”, and other countries are also strongly considering a joint submission.

According to the Swiss government’s concept note:

It is in the interest of the global community that the need for governance of geoengineering is addressed. Not in an effort to promote or facilitate its utilization, but to ensure that its potential implications are fully understood and unilateral utilization is prevented. As these technologies have planetary-scale consequences, their utilization can pose significant environmental and geopolitical risks and raise ethical and social questions. Our proposal to address the governance of geoengineering is motivated by a belief in the strength of multilateralism, preventing unilateral action to the detriment of all.

The resolution would not take any decisions on whether to research or deploy large-scale carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation modification. Rather, it would mandate the UN Environment Programme to prepare an assessment of these potential approaches and their governance, and would invite governments to set up a group of independent experts to support its work.

A C2G2 team will be present at UNEA-4, conducting the following activities:

  • bilateral meetings with representatives of governments, IGOs, and CSOs;
  • providing information on the governance of solar radiation modification and carbon dioxide removal to Permanent Representatives to the UN Environment Programme;
  • presenting our work to attendees at a stand inside the UN’s Gigiri complex in Nairobi.

C2G2 is also exploring a possible workshop for civil society organisations (CSOs) ahead of the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum, which provides CSOs a platform to engage with the UNEA-4 agenda.

This would include an impartial overview of proposed CDR and SRM approaches, their potential benefits, and physical and societal risks, as well as discussions about pathways towards the international governance of research and potential deployment. The worskhop would place a particular emphasis on the role of civil society in shaping that governance.

For any more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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