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International Regulatory Framework for Geoengineering

International Regulatory Framework for Geoengineering

The Ecologic Institute conducts a study on gaps in the international regulatory framework on geoengineering for the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The study is mandated by Decision X/33 of the CBD COP10, which adopted a so-called "moratorium" on geoengineering. Ecologic Institute analyses from a legal and governance perspective which existing international legal rules are applicable to geoengineering. The study develops criteria for assessing gaps in the regulatory framework and for an appropriate governance of geoengineering.

Geoengineering is a term for describing technological measures aimed at reducing anthropogenic global warming. It is an artificial  general term that comprises new and diverse concepts. They include concepts such as reducing incoming net solar radiation or removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Apart from ocean fertilisation and CCS at the point of emission, the concepts are at the modelling stage  and there have been no significant real-world experiments.

There are no international rules or institutions specifically on geoengineering. The decision of the Conference of the Parties to the Biodiversity Convention (CBD) in October 2010 is the first regulatory measure at this level that addressed geoengineering in general. The study by Ecologic Institute analyses the extent to which the existing international regulatory framework can be applied to geoengineering. This includes the main treaty regimes such as the Biodiversity Convention, the Climate Change Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention on the Law of the Sea. Less prominent frameworks include space law and other treaties on protecting the marine environment.

The study will be the basis for future steps under the CBD.