Climate engineering: a reckless or rational option for Australia?
Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are failing to meet politically determined objectives. In response, climate engineering methods are being proposed. These involve either removing existing atmospheric greenhouse gases or adjusting levels of solar radiation. Research shows that such methods are likely to have regionally disparate impacts and adverse environmental effects. Despite a growing interest in climate engineering from the Northern Hemisphere, engagement from Australia has been muted. This PhD research provides insight into the overarching question: what does climate engineering mean for Australia? It provides an assessment of the physical and governance issues of climate engineering from an Australian perspective. It does so using an interdisciplinary approach. In addressing the core question, it first assesses some possible physical impacts of climate engineering on Australia from computations using climate-modelling data. It then provides a quantitative assessment of Australia’s bio- and geo-physical capacity to undertake climate engineering. Finally, it incorporates these findings into a broader study of the climate engineering governance challenges Australia might face. Because climate engineering is still in the conceptual stage, the governance analysis makes use of scenarios and reasoning based on historical analogues.
Anita has a PhD in climate governance from the University of Melbourne, plus a Masters in climate change and an engineering degree from the Australian National University. She is Director of Workforce Development at the Clean Energy Council. Previously she ran the University of Melbourne’s Climate and Energy College, and prior to that she worked for the Australian Parliamentary Library providing research and analysis to Members and Senators of the Australian Parliament on climate change and renewable energy issues.