The security implications of geoengineering:blame,imposed agreement and the security of critical infrastructure

Nightingale, Paul and Cairns, Rose (2014) The security implications of geoengineering:blame,imposed agreement and the security of critical infrastructure. Working Paper. University of Sussex.

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The prospect of solar geoengineering in response to climate change (on the basis of its supposedly significantly lower cost and/or more rapid impact on global temperature than carbon reduction strategies) raises a number of security concerns that have traditionally been understood within a standard Geo-political framing of security. This relates to unrealistic direct application in inter-State warfare or to a securitization of climate change. However, indirect security implications are potentially significant. Current capability, security threats and international law loopholes suggest the military, rather than scientists would undertake geoengineering, and solar radiation management (SRM) in particular. SRM activity would be covered by Critical National Infrastructure policies, and as such would require a significant level of secondary security infrastructure. Concerns about termination effects, the need to impose international policy agreement 4 (given the ability of 'rogue States' to disrupt SRM and existing difficulties in producing global agreement on climate policy), and a world of extreme weather events, where weather is engineered and hence blameworthy rather than natural, suggest these costs would be large. Evidence on how blame is attributed suggest blame for extreme weather events may be directed towards more technologically advanced nations, (such as the USA) even if they are not engaged in geoengineering. From a security perspective SRM is costly, ungovernable, and raises security concerns of a sufficient magnitude to make it a non-viable policy option.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit > SPRU Working Paper Series
Depositing User: Nora Blascsok
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2015 12:34
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2015 12:35

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Climate Geoengineering GovernanceG0841ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILR21774/CN002