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Reference Number EP/I014721/1
Title Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP)
Status Completed
Energy Categories FOSSIL FUELS: OIL, GAS and COAL(CO2 Capture and Storage, CO2 capture/separation) 25%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Sociology) 20%;
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences) 80%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Environmental dimensions) 50%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Other sociological economical and environmental impact of energy) 50%;
Principal Investigator Professor PM Forster
No email address given
School of Earth and Environment
University of Leeds
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 October 2010
End Date 28 February 2015
Duration 53 months
Total Grant Value £1,728,840
Industrial Sectors Environment
Region Yorkshire & Humberside
Programme Energy : Energy
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor PM Forster , School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds (99.996%)
  Other Investigator Professor RC Darton , Engineering Science, University of Oxford (0.001%)
Dr A Jarvis , Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University (0.001%)
Professor (Nicholas ) Pidgeon , Psychology, Cardiff University (0.001%)
Dr A Ridgwell , Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol (0.001%)
  Recognised Researcher Dr N (Naomi ) Vaughan , Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia (0.000%)
Dr M (Maialen ) Galarraga , Philosophy, Lancaster University (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract There is international consensus that dangerous levels of climate change must be avoided. Yet without radical changes in the ways energy is sourced and used, analyses suggest that there is a very real risk that the Earth will start to experience unacceptably damaging and disruptive environmental change later this century. What future actions can be taken to safeguard environmental quality, ecosystems, agriculture, economy, and societies if the conventional approaches to tackling climate change, through mitigation and adaptation, prove insufficient? Could we take direct control of our planet's temperature in an emergency? Deliberately manipulating the Earth's climate is not a novel idea, however increasing awareness and concern about the potentially serious nature of a much warmer climate has led to recent debates regarding the ethics and feasibility of making a direct intervention in the Earth's climate and natural systems to counteract global warming and the other known impacts of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.As this new research field, known as 'geoengineering', has gained in international profile, ideas for either removing CO2 from the atmosphere or directly altering the amount of sunlight absorbed at the surface have proliferated. Suggested means of removing CO2 span marine and terrestrial biospheres, from enhancing marine productivity by fertilizing the surface of the ocean with nutrients, to adding lime to neutralize the CO2acidity. Direct cooling of the surface could potentially be done by injecting sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere or planting more reflective varieties of crops. However, despite the effort and scientific ingenuity being brought to bear in thinking up different geoengineering schemes, all remain un-quantified in their effectiveness, particularly at the regional scale. Some are unlikely ever to work as envisaged, and many contain the potential for undesirable climatic side-effects and risksto the environment and to society.Currently we have insufficient information to inform the debate we need to have on geoengineering. The Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals ('IAGP') is an interdisciplinary project which will begin to address this gap in our knowledge, paying particular attention to the potential for side-effects and unanticipated consequences of geoengineering schemes. The project will develop a comprehensive evaluation framework (involving stakeholders and publics), which will allow an in-depth comparison of all major geoengineering proposals. The project research tools will include state-of-the-art computer representations of the Earth system, accounting for ocean circulation, sea-ice, and greenhouse warming and atmospheric processes and dynamics, as well as the cycling of carbon and nutrients within the ocean. Important questions to be addressed include: whether different technologies can be combined to maximize mitigation benefits and minimize unwanted risks, how might geoengineering schemes be adequately controlled and 'turned off' quickly if needed, how to include the public's views in how benefits and side-effects are defined in order for policy-makers to take informed decisions. The project combines Earth system modelling and deliberative engagement with stakeholders and publics to ensure the evaluation is accountable to a variety of values and criteria and ensures that issues and society's values are centrally incorporated within the evaluation.The results of our analysis of the effectiveness and implications of different CO2 removal and direct cooling schemes will not only have direct policy relevance through informing decisions about our global environmental future, but will be carefully tailored to give wider audiences information in a sufficiently clear and meaningful way that the debates surrounding geoengineering can be progressed further within society
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 21/07/10