The Politics of Climate Engineering - Actors, Arenas, Timescales 2020

- Online -

29 September - 1 October 2020

Venue: Lorentz Center@Snellius

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Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the physical workshop has been rescheduled to 2021

As the idea of a climate crisis gains traction around the globe, measures that could aid in stemming the tide are desperately sought after. This workshop will address the politics involved in generating scientific expertise and policies around a group of technological approaches often summarized as ‘climate engineering’: large scale, intentional interventions into the Earth’s climate envisioned to stabilize global temperatures, ranging from massive afforestation to atmospheric dispersion of reflective particles. Specifically, it addresses an apparent contradiction between the still largely speculative and imaginary nature of these approaches on the one hand, and their increasing normalization and integration into climate science and policy making on the other: How can we make sense of the emerging politics of climate engineering against this backdrop?

The workshop seeks to advance a research agenda that might contribute to a better understanding of the actors, arenas and timescales involved in these emerging politics of climate engineering. The goal of the workshop is to set up a interdisciplinary network of critical scholars and policy experts who shed light on important but understudied issues relating to:

  • the notion of the political in the context of this apparently technocratic debate and
  • how climate engineering connects climate science and policy

Envisioned outputs include an edited volume and a co-authored scientific paper. Due to the Covid19 pandemic and international travel restrictions, the date for the face-to-face meeting remains to be set. However, a digital workshop will take place to kick-off substantial collaboration on this important and timely topic. The digital workshop will build on the discussion of short think-pieces through which the participants can present their diverse perspectives on the emerging politics of climate engineering. This discussion will serve to identify common themes for our ongoing exchange, spotlight critical research questions, and prepare the face-to-face meeting at the Lorentz Center next year.



    September 29

    Goal of the Day: Connecting Perspectives



    Presentation by the scientific organizers and explanation of the online drawing board.



    Short introductions via think pieces (5min pp).





    Identification of joint themes and key discussion points.

    September 30

    Goal of the Day: Outlining a Joint Research Agenda



    Summary of key discussion points (from previous day) and explanation of the afternoon’s workflow.


    Break-out groups 1: Expansion


    Break-out groups 2: Contraction





    Mapping results, questions, and key discussion points from break-out groups into a joint research agenda.

    October 1

    Goal of the Day: Determining Outputs, Devising a Work Plan, and Defining Next Steps



    Presenting the basic outline and key dimensions of a potential joint research agenda (summary of results from previous day).



    Discussion of and feedback regarding this outline. 





    Fleshing out the details and devising working packages: Determining concrete research projects, potential collaborations, and different forms of output (e.g. special issue, policy brief, edited volume).



    Timeline of action: What do we want to achieve until our next meeting? Structuring a work plan.

    Please login to view the participants information. You have received the log in details in your registration confirmation.

    Julia Schubert, Bonn University  

    Ina Möller, Wageningen University  

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