This student paper was produced for the Energy Policy Practicum (Rosner/Topel, Spring 2016)
Geoengineering (technological modification of the climate) has been suggested as a path to mitigate some of the effects of anthropogenic climate change. A worst-case climate change scenario was developed, based on a realistic (if pessimistic) view of future emissions patterns, whereby a single state actor could be motivated to pursue a geoengineering policy. In the highly uncertain context of climate change, how might this actor go about changing the climate? A framework for evaluation of geoengineering technologies (under conditions of uncertainty) is developed, including an order-of-magnitude cost analysis. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) atmospheric injection is found to be the most cost-effective and technically feasible geoengineering technique. The policy implications of such a geoengineering strategy are discussed, as well as possible frameworks for governing geoengineering at the multinational level. An implementation roadmap is proposed, tying the scientific and operational realities of geoengineering to the political context in which this policy would be carried out.