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Even the most ardent supporters of geoengineering acknowledge the risks inherent in these technologies, but uncertainty goes both ways. There are also risks in not using a technology that could help mitigate the worst effects of climate change. The challenge for policymakers, therefore, is to assess the risks of researching, developing—and possibly deploying—geoengineering technologies against those of not deploying them, and relying only on other climate interventions, such as mitigation and adaptation. Policy makers cannot make judgments on those risks by themselves. Scientists need to contribute, but policy decisions need to follow broad society-wide discussions, including key stakeholders at national and international levels. It’s all hands on deck, and here’s why.
Janos Pasztor is currently Senior Fellow and Executive Director of the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative (C2G2) at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He has four decades of work experience in the areas of energy, environment, climate change and sustainable development. Before taking up his current assignment he was UN Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Change in New York under Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.