Geoengineering Tensions

26 Apr 2018

There has been much discussion of the moral, legal and prudential implications of geoengineering, and of governance structures for both the research and deployment of such technologies. However, insufficient attention has been paid to how such measures might affect geoengineering in terms of the incentive structures which underwrite scientific progress. There is a tension between the features that make science productive, and the need to govern geoengineering research, which has thus far gone underappreciated. I emphasize how geoengineering research requires governance which reaches beyond science’s traditional boundaries, and moreover requires knowledge which itself reaches beyond what we traditionally expect scientists to know about. How we govern emerging technologies should be sensitive to the incentive structures which drive science.