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Environmental Values

Climate Engineering and the Cessation Requirement: The Ethics of a Life-Cycle

Christopher J. Preston

Environmental Values 25 (2016): 91-107. doi: 10.3197/096327115X14497392134964

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Much of the work on the ethics of climate engineering over the last few years has focused on the front-end of the potential timeline for climate intervention. Topics have included the initial taboo on bringing the discussion of climate engineering into the open, guidelines to put in place before commencing research, and governance arrangements before first deployment. While this work is clearly important, the current paper considers what insights can be gleaned from considering the tail-end, that is, by using the requirement for future cessation as a criterion for any acceptable climate engineering strategy. After showing that time-limited interventions are a key part of the rhetoric of leading climate engineering advocates, the paper examines the implications of imposing a 'cessation requirement' on solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal strategies. Consideration of a cessation requirement turns out to reveal a great deal about what ought to be happening now, before any decision to proceed with climate engineering deployment has been taken.


Climate engineering, cessation requirement, restoration, carbon dioxide removal (CDR), solar radiation management (SRM).

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Some Early Ethics of Geoengineering the Climate: A Commentary on the Values of the Royal Society Report. Stephen M. Gardiner

Re-Thinking the Unthinkable: Environmental Ethics and the Presumptive Argument Against Geoengineering Christopher J. Preston

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: The Ethics of Engineering the Climate. Christian Baatz, Clare Heyward and Harald Stelzer

Can We Have It Both Ways? On Potential Trade-Offs Between Mitigation and Solar Radiation Management. Christian Baatz

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