Climate Engineering Under the Paris Agreement
While the Paris Agreement does not address the issue of climate engineering (CE) expressly, the target of limiting global average temperature rise to “well below” 2°C and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increases to 1.5°C”, (a goal that appears unlikely to be achieved in the absence of significant amounts of carbon removal), raises questions respecting how the issue of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SRM) technologies may be addressed under the Paris Agreement (PA). This seminar examines the specific provisions of the Paris Agreement with a view to identifying where legal and policy questions in relation to CE are likely to arise. Inclusion of CDR technologies as part of a state’s nationally determined contributions is permissible under Article 4, but will likely trigger concerns respecting the degree of reliance on CDR, technological readiness and equity. SRM technologies would appear to have little entry room within the Paris Agreement, but the process mechanism of the PA provide opportunities to satisfy SRM research governance demands for transparency and public deliberation. This seminar also considers the broader question of the implications of the governance approach taken in the PA, which imposes few substantive obligations on states but seeks to pursue collective goals through reflexive procedural mechanisms, and its suitability in addressing the governance issues associated with CDR and SRM.
Neil Craik is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo with appointments to the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, where he teaches and researches in the fields of international and Canadian environmental law. His current research examines the legal structure of global commons regimes. Professor Craik has particular interests in climate and geoengineering law and governance, deep seabed mining regulation and environmental impact assessment. He is the author/editor of several books, including Global Environmental Change and Innovation in International Law, (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Climate Change Policy in North America: Designing Integration (UTP, 2013), Public Law: Cases, Materials and Commentary (Emond Montgomery, 2011) and The International Law of Environmental Impact Assessment: Process Substance and Integration (CUP, 2008), in addition to numerous book chapters and journal articles. He is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Co-director of the BSIA/CIGI International Law Summer Institute and from 2011 to 2017, Professor Craik served as the Director of the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo.