Parallel Session 2.3: Climate engineering governance beyond international law

Wednesday, 09:00 - 10:30
02 I Elysium

Most legal scholarship concerning climate engineering has remained within the international domain. Yet national and nonstate law and policy will be relevant sooner. This session will present and discuss possible next steps in these regulatory domains toward governance of both solar and carbon climate engineering.



  • Anthony Chavez
    • Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) can be used to incentivize and accelerate the development of negative emissions technologies (NETs). IPCC models rely upon NETs to avoid dangerous planetary warming, yet NETs are woefully underdeveloped, and questions abound concerning their viability at scale.
      State and national governments have used RPSs to require utilities to generate a mandated percentage of electricity from renewable sources. These jurisdictions tailored their RPS mandates to fit the states’ particular circumstances. Consequently, use of RPSs accelerated development of renewable energy. For instance, up to 60% of the growth of renewables in the United States is attributed to their use.
      Similarly, RPSs can stimulate development of NETs. Jurisdictions can craft RPSs to promote particular NETs that fit the states’ economies, their resources, and/or industries they seek to develop. State-level RPSs, as opposed to national standards, enable the “laboratories of democracy” to experiment with different regulatory approaches, complementing the heterogeneity of NETs. Current RPSs include mechanisms (credits multipliers, specific mandates, etc.) to stimulate development of preferred technologies. Jurisdictions can apply similar mechanisms to promote particular NETs. Also, states that have already established carbon credits systems through their RPSs can apply them to monitor and measure the effectiveness of their NETs.
  • Jeffrey McGee - Marine Geoengineering in Australian Law
    • Authors: Dr Jeff McGee, Prof Jan McDonald, Dr Brendan Gogarty, Dr Kerryn Brent
    • The legality of marine geoengineering under international law will be influenced by the way in which geoengineering activities are authorized domestically. In Australia, the domestic regime regulating activities with potentially significant environmental impacts on Australian marine resources will require detailed impact assessment and the approval of the Commonwealth Environment Minister in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development. The operation of these provisions in relation to ocean fertilization or marine cloud whitening in Australia’s EEZ remains untested. This paper explores their likely application and offers some tentative conclusions about the legality of marine geoengineering under existing Australian environmental law. It also considers the potential scope for other Australian government initiatives, such as the emissions reduction fund, to embrace or foreclose marine geoengineering efforts.
  • Edward Parson - A framework for SRM research governance: A social license approach
    • Authors: Seth Hoedl and Edward A. Parson
    • We present a framework for governance of SRM research, based on ten significant dimensions of choice including form and trigger for governance, defined thresholds and boundaries, environmental and scientific review, public engagement, transparency, and treatment of intellectual property. Within this framework, we develop a set of proposed principles for governance to achieve and sustain a social license for SRM research, drawing on experience in governing other areas of contested research, including the first investigation of the relevance for SMR of three other research areas involving active environmental perturbations.
  • Rachel Hauser
    • As part of the session, a discussant will outline ways in which governance could improve the level and quality of climate engineering research. The governance-focused discussion, framed from a US perspective, will consider issues ranging from funding to policy considerations for the furtherance of climate engineering research. The results of a survey of policy professionals reactions to climate engineering will be highlighted. The discussion will also include the perspective of a national research center currently involved in climate engineering research and the expected benefits of a well-conceived governance structure.
Convened by: 

Jesse Reynolds

Utrecht University

Dr. Jesse Reynolds is a scholar of international environmental policy. He researches and teaches how society can develop rules and institutions to manage environmental problems, particularly those involving new technologies. While his approach is centered within international environmental law, he draws from diverse disciplines, including international relations and economics. Dr. Reynolds is a postdoctoral researcher at the Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law of the Utrecht University School of Law in The Netherlands. He obtained his Ph.D. in international public law from Tilburg University; his Master’s in environmental policy from the University of California, Berkeley; and his Bachelor’s in chemistry and environmental sciences from Hampshire College.

Tracy Hester

University of Houston

Professor Hester teaches environmental law and emerging technology courses at the University of Houston Law Centre.  His research focuses on the innovative appli­cation of environmental laws to emerging technologies and risks, such as climate engineering, nanotechnologies, genetic modification, advanced renewable power projects, and on novel compliance and liability issues. Prior to joining the University of Houston Law Centre, Prof. Hester served as a partner in Bracewell LLP for sixteen years and led the Houston office's environmental group.
Prof. Hester co-directs the Environment, Energy & Natural Resource Centre's Speaker Series, which annually draws top speakers on energy and environmental topics to the University of Houston campus.  He also organizes and assists in the preparation of workshops and symposia on current energy and environmental topics.
Prof. Hester was inducted into the American College of Environmental Lawyers in 2015, elected as a member of the American Law Institute in 2004, and named the Top Environmental Lawyer in Houston in 2011 by Best Lawyers of America. He was also elected to the Council of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER) in 2011, and he currently co-chairs SEER's new Law Professors Committee.  


Anthony Chavez

Northern Kentucky University

Anthony E. Chavez is Professor of Law at Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University.  He teaches classes on environmental law, renewable energy law, the law of climate change, natural resources law, and the legal and environmental aspects of business transactions.  Professor Chavez’s scholarly work focuses on climate engineering, including legal systems to facilitate development of negative emission technologies, the interaction of geoengineering and human rights laws, using legal principles to guide the deployment of geoengineering, and the patenting of climate engineering inventions.  Professor Chavez received his B.S. in Accounting from Loyola Marymount University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.  Before beginning his teaching career, he practiced as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Bingham-McCutchen in San Francisco, and the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Los Angeles.  Prior to joining Chase, he was the director of legal writing at the University of California at Davis.

Jeffrey McGee

University of Tasmania

Dr Jeffrey McGee is a Senior Lecturer in Climate Change, Marine and Antarctic Law at the Faculty of Law and Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia. Dr McGee is interested in international climate change governance with a specific focus on mitigation, marine and geoengineering issues.

Edward (Ted) Parson

University of California, Los Angeles

Edward A. (Ted) Parson is Professor of Environmental Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Parson studies international environmental law and policy, the role of science and technology in policy-making, and the political economy of regulation. His most recent books are A Subtle Balance: Evidence, Expertise, and Democracy in Public Policy and Governance, 1970-2010 (McGill-Queens University Press, 2015), The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change (with Andrew Dessler) (2nd ed. Cambridge, 2010), and Protecting the Ozone Layer: Science and Strategy (Oxford, 2003).

Parson has led and served on multiple advisory committees, such as the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. In addition to his academic positions, Parson has worked for and consulted several political bodies including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.N. Environment Program.  He holds degrees in physics from the University of Toronto and in management science from the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard.  In former lives, he was a professional classical musician and an organizer of grass-roots environmental groups.

Rachel Hauser

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

Rachel Hauser is Manager of Foundations and Partnerships for the US-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). She leads engagement efforts for UCAR and for the Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes (C3WE), a public-private partnership developed to strengthen society’s resilience to extreme events. C3WE is part of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). In these roles, Rachel identifies, develops, and promotes collaborations and other engagement opportunities between UCAR, NCAR, the C3WE team and other research institutions, as well as with government, non-governmental, and for-profit organizations. NCAR and UCAR provide support and services to the scientific community, with a focus on UCAR's 110 member universities; areas of institutional interest include climate engineering research and governance.