«ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH OF THE FEDERAL MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, NATURE CONSERVATION, BUILDING AND NUCLEAR SAFETY Project No. (FKZ) 3711 11101 ...»
b) Specific scientific input as part of the international governance framework, e.g. in order to update or amend general guidance or rules: The main active institutions so far, the CBD and the LC/LP, have prepared their political decisions on scientific input coming from subsidiary bodies within its regime. As this function underpins other governance functions, e.g. in order to update or amend general guidance or rules, it is crucial that it is separate from political decision-making, in order to maintain scientific credibility and political legitimacy and responsibility.
c) Input to specific individual decisions such as permits: It does not currently seem necessary that the international level provides more than general guidance as to the conditions under which the national level should allow for exemptions from the general prohibition. There is no need for international governance to provide input to individual permit decisions. This might change if experiments become larger in scale or potential impact.
Some treaty regimes such as the UNFCCC, CBD and LC/LP organise and produce their own scientific input and have an institutional backbone with scientific sub-bodies preparing the decisions of the political bodies such as the COP. Alternatively, the function of coordinating science and research could be performed separately from and outside of institutions making political decisions and implementing rules. Scientific assessments and other input could also be performed by separate existing institutions such as the IPCC, IPBES, UNEP and WMO, or new institutions or a lose network of scientific institutions. As with filling other governance gaps, the current reform of UNEP might suggest that it also takes a leading role in performing or providing scientific assessments, with other competent institutions contributing. UNEP has http://www.unep.org/ccac/.
For a game theroy approach see Ricke et al (2013).
Williamson et al (2012). In 2012 the CBD COP adopted a mandate to update it, although this is subject to funding.
Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering done so in other areas, e.g. on climate change in its Emissions Gap Reports. 609 While some of the reservations about UNEP outlined above also apply, it might be more easy for UNEP to engage in this governance function. For the scientific function, using the IPCC is another option due to its thematic mandate, its centralising overview and its established practice and experience. Geoengineering and its potential effects will also be part of the IPCC’s fifth Assessment Report, including the possible role, options, risks and status of geoengineering as a response option. 610 However, the IPCC might be too big a structure and (unwillingly) too close to the polarised climate change debate to have a suitable focus and the necessary standing for a geoengineering governance framework.
Scientific coordination could also be left as an essentially self-organizing process. A selforganizing scientific network could be a viable alternative, provided that the link to the political level is defined, perhaps in the simple form of databases under an existing regime, as is envisaged under the LC/LP. 611 In any event, the specific scientific input that underpins other governance functions, e.g. in order to update or amend general guidance or rules, should be separate from political decision-making.
6.7 Conclusions and proposals Academic and political discussion on geoengineering governance should be based on explicit objectives and criteria that any proposed governance arrangements are meant to pursue, balance and fulfil. There is no shortage of proposals concerning international governance arrangements. However, the rationales and goals to be pursued by them have hardly been made explicit. There is no obvious panacea for the international governance of geoengineering and no obviously superior set of criteria and objectives. We suggest, however, that making the criteria and objectives explicit facilitates a debate about such goals and rationales, which present an important guideline for designing feasible, effective and appropriate governance arrangements. It is important to disaggregate the debate into objectives and means of governance that are available for achieving these objectives.
We therefore suggest a set of explicit objectives and criteria of international governance
arrangements. In this respect, three overarching objectives can guide us:
a) to avoid negative transboundary environmental and health risks and impacts;
b) to avoid political tension and conflicts, in particular resulting from unilateral action, as well as legal disputes; and
c) as a more technical matter, to coordinate scientific research.
In addition, and on this basis, we suggest that the international governance of geo-engineering
should be guided by the following more concrete criteria:
http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/emissionsgapreport/ Scope, Content and Process for the Preparation of the Synthesis Report (SYR) of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), p.3. IPCC AR4 had mentioned geoengineering in WGII 19.4.3 and WGIII 11.2.2.
LC/LP Report of the 34th Consultative Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, LC Doc LC 35/15 of 23 November 2012, para 4.25Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering
a) It should implement a precautionary approach in respect of the risks of geoengineering;
b) It should facilitate broad international participation and acceptance;
c) It should avoid or at least minimize any direct or indirect undermining of climate mitigation efforts;
d) It should aim at a high level of legitimacy, including through (public) participation and transparency, in particular with respect to (i) general rule-making, (ii) casespecific decision-making on any proposed concrete geoengineering activity in the field, and (iii) any actual permitted geoengineering activity, e.g. through monitoring and reporting; and
e) It should allow for a sufficient level of flexibility in order to be able to respond to new scientific knowledge as well as the evolving public debate on geoengineering.
We base our thinking about appropriate arrangements for the international governance of geoengineering on these criteria and objectives, bearing in mind the potential for trade-offs between them (especially as regards international participation and acceptance).
In view of these objectives and criteria, in particular two types of geoengineering techniques pose significant direct risks of transboundary effects (i.e. effects on other countries or areas beyond national jurisdiction) and, consequently, political tension, and thus are in need of international governance: marine techniques such as ocean fertilisation or ocean liming, and atmospheric solar radiation management such as injection of sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere. Other techniques, in particular those encapsulating or removing carbon from the atmosphere, such as "artificial tress" or enhanced weathering, would not appear to have similar transboundary effects. The international governance of marine geoengineering techniques and solar radiation management techniques thus deserves, according to current knowledge, priority attention.
As regards the normative approach, we recommend a general prohibition of geoengineering activities that entail significant transboundary risks, combined with the possibility of exemptions. The prohibition would in principle also apply to research activities such as field experiments, but not to e.g. modelling (on research see also below). In general, there is a broad range of binding and non-binding tools, instruments and legal techniques to choose from, with the general approach ranging from a general prohibition (with exemptions) to a general permission (with specific restrictions). A general prohibition with exemptions on the basis of clear criteria would best reflect a precautionary approach in (a) minimizing environmental and health risks, including minimising the risk of undermining climate mitigation efforts, as well as (b) defusing the potential for international conflicts and disputes. This overall approach could
be specified as follows:
a) Clarity on which activities are prohibited could best be achieved by a positive list of the geoengineering techniques covered by the prohibition. Although an overall definition covering all geoengineering techniques might be useful as a political and normative reference point, it would inevitably be vague and would, on its own, not provide sufficient normative certainty. In order to build in flexibility and as guidance to states, the governance regime could provide a non-exhaustive list of the criteria used in establishing the prohibition and determining its scope in combination with a regular review of the positive list.
b) The clear framing of the exemptions should enable legitimate research to proceed (see below) and thus facilitate international acceptance of the governance approach.
Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering Exemptions should be granted based on a transparent decision-making process applying strict and clear criteria.
c) Decision-making on both the positive list of prohibited geoengineering activities (including its review) and exemptions (including applicable criteria) should facilitate broad participation in decision-making. Depending on the circumstances, a nonbinding approach could be considered with a view to its evolving into binding law over time.
This approach does not necessarily mean that the actual decision-making needs to be centralised at the international level. For instance, the general prohibition and the criteria for exemptions could be stated at the international level, while leaving implementation of the corresponding rules, standards and procedures, including case-specific decisions to the national level. Such a vertical division of labour could facilitate acceptance and address concerns about international micro-management. At the same time, it would require appropriate structures for reporting and monitoring of national-level decisions and activities.
We suggest that the governance of geoengineering research best be integrated into the general governance arrangements. Research in the form of field experiments or other activities in the real world should not be addressed separately from, and earlier than, any "deployment" of geoengineering techniques. Such a separation of governance structures (and implied sequencing of their elaboration) seems problematic and non-advisable because (1) there is no clear-cut separation of the application of geoengineering techniques “for research” from the application “for other purposes” and (2) any such separate governance structures for research would be likely to provide an important precedent and blueprint for the governance of deployment (for other purposes). Instead, the governance of geoengineering research can be integrated into general governance arrangements. In our design, research would fall within the scope of the general governance and the prohibition, but it could proceed on the basis of case-specific exemptions, based on an environmental impact assessment, independent expert advice, and provided it implies a small-scale intervention only. This approach would not restrict or stifle research beyond what is necessary to minimise the risks that are posed by research activities in the same way as by any geoengineering activities for other purposes. At the same time, our approach could enhance transparency and legitimacy of research activities.