As a means of building upon Ecologic Institute's expertise in geoengineering governance and regulation, Gesa Homann and Elizabeth Tedsen participated in the University of Oxford's Geoengineering Summer School from August 19 to August 25, 2012.
Geoengineering is a generic term used to describe a range of concepts and techniques intended to reduce climate change or its impacts; these techniques are independent from those used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The use of such techniques is surrounded by some controversy and has brought about a number of political discussions. However, given that research on geoengineering is still in its early stages, this discussion is mainly at the theoretical level.
With its Oxford Geoengineering Programme, the University of Oxford aims to bring together international researchers in this field and contribute to the objectivity of the debate. The programme is known for having produced a set of non-binding Oxford Principles on Geoengineering Research. The Oxford Geoengineering Summer School is also known as the Third Transdiciplinary Summer School on Climate Engineering and brought together researchers from a variety of natural and social science disciplines to collaborate and exchange ideas on proposed geoengineering techniques and associated governance issues.
Leading researchers in the field shared current developments and research on a number of topics such as governance, law, climate science, engineering, economics, and ethics. In addition to research exchanges, the summer school provided opportunities for participants to cooperate on new, interdisciplinary collaborative projects. The next Summer School will take place at Harvard University, MA, in 2013.
Ecologic Institute's work covers regulatory and governance options, as well as analysis for geoengineering. Past and current projects include a research project for the German Federal Environment Agency developing specific proposals for governance of geoengineering at the international level, a study on gaps in the international regulatory framework on geoengineering for the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and a project for the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag analyzing the legal framework applicable to geoengineering, which involves identifying regulatory gaps and developing governance criteria for decision-makers.