Governing Geoengineering Research: A Political and Technical Vulnerability Analysis of Potential Near-Term Options
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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Geoengineering, the large-scale, persistent, intentional altering of the globes climate, is increasingly mentioned as a potential response to climate change. But evaluating the risks associated with any policy toward geoengineering confronts deep uncertainties concerning not only the desirability of deploying such systems but also the consequences of conducting research and large-scale experiments on climate modification. This report demonstrates a decision framework for conducting a risk analysis under such conditions of deep uncertainty. It also provides an initial evaluation of alternative near-term policies the U.S. government might pursue regarding the governance of geoengineering research. The analysis utilizes a vulnerability-and-response- option analysis decision framework, based on robust decisionmaking methods and utilizing a simple Bayesian belief net simulation, to compare the risks of alternative policy choices. The robust decisionmaking concepts employed in this report have been widely used by the RAND Corporation to address many climate-related and other policy questions but heretofore have not been applied to questions of geoengineering. This report should be of interest to policymakers, scholars, and researchers interested in the governance of geoengineering research, development, eventual deployment, and, especially, the security implications of geoengineering. This report is a product of the RAND Corporations continuing program of self-initiated independent research.