‘Opening up’ geoengineering appraisal: Deliberative Mapping of options for tackling climate change (PhD Project)

Deliberate large-scale interventions in the Earth’s climate system known as ‘geoengineering’ have been proposed in order to moderate anthropogenic climate change. This PhD research critically reviewed existing appraisals of geoengineering before developing and executing its own appraisal method in response to their limitations. The research developed an innovative multicriteria method called deliberative mapping to ‘open up’ geoengineering appraisals to far more diverse framings, knowledges and future pathways. A range of international specialists from government, civil society, industry and academia, and sociodemographically representative citizens from Norfolk were engaged using a combination of multicriteria mapping interviews and deliberative citizens’ panels. The results presented a radically different view to earlier appraisals, where despite mapping divergent perspectives, geoengineering proposals were consistently outperformed by mitigation options. In turn, the research made significant advances towards addressing a deficit of responsibly defined criteria for shaping governance propositions. Its new sociotechnical framework argued for greater reflexivity in the articulation of geoengineered futures, the prioritization of broadly ‘robust’ options and decisions over narrowly ‘optimal’ ones, and the need to satisfactorily engage concerned publics before declaring geoengineering proposals as legitimate objects of governance.

Full text available here.

People involved: Rob Bellamy

Funding: Norfolk Charitable Trust

Timescale: 2010-2013

Supervisors: J Chilvers, N Vaughan, T Lenton

Relevant publications:

  1. Bellamy, R., Chilvers, J. Vaughan, N. and Lenton, T. (2012): A review of climate geoengineering appraisals. WIREs Climate Change, 3, 597 – 615.
  2. Bellamy, R., Chilvers, J., Vaughan, N. and Lenton, T. (2013): ‘Opening up’ geoengineering appraisal: Multi-Criteria Mapping of options for tackling climate change. Global Environmental Change, 23, 926 – 937.
  3. Bellamy, R., Chilvers, J. and Vaughan, N. (2014): Deliberative Mapping of options for tackling climate change: Citizens and specialists ‘open up’ appraisal of geoengineering. Public Understanding of Science, 25, 269 – 286.
  4. Bellamy, R. (2015): A sociotechnical framework for governing climate engineering. Science, Technology and Human Values, 41, 135 – 162.