Climate Engineering and the Law: Regulation and Liability for Solar Radiation Management and Carbon Dioxide Removal


Climate Engineering and the Law: Regulation and Liability for Solar Radiation Management and Carbon Dioxide Removal


Publication Date



Climate change is increasingly recognized as a global threat, and is already contributing to record-breaking hurricanes and heat waves. To prevent the worst impacts, attention is now turning to climate engineering - the intentional large-scale modification of the environment to reduce the impact of climate change. The two principal methods involve removing some carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (which could consume huge amounts of land and money, and take a long period of time), and reducing the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth's surface, perhaps by spraying aerosols into the upper atmosphere from airplanes (which could be done quickly but is risky and highly controversial). This is the first book to focus on the legal aspects of these technologies: what government approvals would be needed; how liability would be assessed and compensation provided if something goes wrong; and how a governance system could be structured and agreed internationally.


Environmental Law | Law | Natural Resources Law




Cambridge University Press


New York, NY


“In Climate Engineering and the Law, editors Michael B. Gerrard and Tracy Hester lead us into the third phase of climate change law and policy based on their sobering but inescapable assessment that the current trajectory of mitigation and adaptation policies will not be enough. The chapters of the volume, authored by experts in their fields, accessibly guide the reader through the essential scientific and legal foundations necessary for meaningful engagement over the question of climate engineering, and provide thoughtful insights on the important next steps. As disappointing as it may be to accept that some forms of climate geoengineering will be needed in order to avoid massive human and environmental catastrophe, they will be, and we'd better prepare law for it now rather than later.”
J. B. Ruhl, David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

“Gerrard and Hester have persuasively made the case why the world's tool-kit for combating climate change must expand beyond climate mitigation and adaptation and include some forms of climate engineering. Their ground-breaking compilation of legal and technical issues surrounding potential climate engineering approaches will enable lawmakers, scientists and policymakers to consider this challenging subject in a clear-headed and disciplined manner.”
David J. Hayes, Executive Director, State Energy and Environmental Impact Center, New York University and former Deputy Secretary, US Department of the Interior

“The importance of legal and regulatory frameworks for the successful implementation of climate change mitigation cannot be overestimated. This book is long overdue and provides an excellent overview of the issues, as the entire field is evolving rapidly.”
Klaus Lackner, Director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, Arizona State University

“A much-needed, comprehensive treatment of the serious policy, structural, institutional, and legal challenges raised by climate engineering proposals. This work will be an important reference for shaping and framing the public debate as it continues to move forward. It highlights the near absence of regulatory and institutional frameworks to safeguard the planet from unforeseen consequences of well-intentioned, but risky, interventions.”
David A. Wirth, Boston College Law School, Massachusetts

“The world may need climate engineering, but the control of this technology will challenge our institutions dramatically. Climate Engineering and the Law nicely puts together the existing legal tools and concepts for governing intentional modification of the climate. The book makes clear that concepts for controlling geoengineering present unique challenges but finds utility in previous laws, policies and agreements.”
Jane C. S. Long, former Principal Associate Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California


Also available as an eBook through the Columbia University Libraries.


Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Climate Engineering and the Law: Regulation and Liability for Solar Radiation Management and Carbon Dioxide Removal

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