Like climate change - to which it is typically seen as a response - geoengineering raises immense issues of both distributional and procedural justice. For example, it challenges us to ask what duties are owed to future generations, who are exceptionally vulnerable to our decisions about appropriate responses to climate change, yet have no say in them. But in media and political discourses on geo-engineering, such questions of justice appear to have been largely framed out of consideration. This presentation therefore explores nascent public views on justice and geoengineering, situating them with reference to academic philosophical theories of justice.

In considering emerging technologies - such as geo-engineering - best practice suggests forms of consideration that open-up deliberation to diverse groups and topics are desirable. Several public engagement studies have been undertaken on geoengineering. Re-analysis of the transcripts of the most substantial of those reveals that justice concerns are frequently raised. This presentation will outline the issues raised by these publics and the ways they are expressed, noting contrasting responses to different geoengineering techniques.

Amongst other things the presentation will discuss

  • emerging concerns over participation in decision making, against a perceived potential for vested interests to profit from particular climate responses;
  • the extent to which care for future generations appears communitarian or cosmopolitan in nature, noting concerns over ‘dumping’ of negative impacts of geoengineering on poor countries; and
  • the implications of unfair burden sharing for moral hazard, solidarity, and public support for accelerated mitigation.

Duncan is a mature part time PhD student with LEC, based in Sweden. Alongside his PhD studies he consults and advises in a range of sustainable development, climate change and geo-engineering issues. Amongst other roles he served on the Research Councils’ stage-gate panel for the Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE) project review and is a member of the Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Potential (IAGP) project advisory group.

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