Search By Topic


The World Science Summit on Climate Engineering: Future Guiding Principles and Ethics

Date: September 04, 2014

The inability of the global community to effectively limit or roll back greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continues to undermine the ability to minimize impacts of global climate change and has led to serious speculation about the need for engineering the climate. Climate engineering, just to mitigate against the temperature increases predicted by the mid to late part of the current century, opens our planet to many potentially hazardous and dangerous unknowns. In order to manage the risks and limit “larger scale” experiments with trans-boundary implications, new and innovative perspectives on the development of global principles and ethics pertaining to climate engineering need to be established. Strong pleas are growing for governments to develop governance structures to oversee the emerging R&D activities involving climate modification at scale by individual scientists or countries.

The objectives of this summit are to engage the global scientific community to bring new and innovative perspectives to the development of global principles and ethics – encompassing the potential social, ecological, and economic effects on climate engineering. This forum is viewed as an important follow-on of the Geoengineering the Climate report of the Royal Society, the Asilomar International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies, and subsequent discussions of governance structures for engineering the climate.

The Summit is expected to take the next critical step of defining what is and is not acceptable for scientists to pursue as members of the scientific community. Participants will create a set of the guiding principles for climate engineering research that will be circulated to the broad scientific community, for endorsement by their professional societies and associations. The organisers aim to include the broadest cross-section of the scientific community to define the scope and scale of climate engineering research that can be reasonably pursued and why. Discussions at the summit will identify the research that falls outside those boundaries, requiring world scale formal governance structures, strictures and instruments to implement.

Organizing Committee

Paul M Bertsch (Chair) CSSP, CSIRO, Australia, and University of Kentucky, USA

Martin Apple (co-Chair) CSSP and University of California-Berkeley, USA
John Geissman (co-Chair) CSSP and University of Texas-Dallas, USA
Ellen Bergfeld ASA-CSSA-SSSA, USA
Clifford Duke ESA, USA
Rob Jackson Stanford University, USA
Craig James CSIRO, Australia
Carlos Nobre Brazilian National Space Research Institute, Brazil
Lynn Russell University of California, San Diego, USA
Mark Stafford-Smith CSIRO, Australia, and Chair, Future Earth Science Committee
Ester Sztein BISO-NAS, USA
Anya Waite Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany
Diana H. Wall Colorado State University, USA

Confirmed participants include Richard Alley, Pennsylvania State University, USA; Martin Apple, University of California-Berkeley, USA; Paulo Artaxo, University of São Paulo, Brazil; Inés Camilloni, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Robert W Howarth, Cornell University, USA; Rattan Lal, The Ohio State University, USA; Hong Liao, Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China; Jane Long,
University of California-Berkeley, USA; Thomas Lovejoy, George Mason University, Brazil and USA; Michael C. MacCracken, Climate Institute, USA; Marcia K. McNutt, American Association for the Advancement of Science, USA; David Morrow, University of Alabama-Birmingham, USA; Steve Rayner, University of Oxford, UK; Gene Takle, Iowa State University, USA; and Simone Tilmes, National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA;

Focus Areas:

Atmospheric sciences
Agricultural sciences and food security
Earth sciences
Ecosystems and biodiversity
Human health implications
Meteorological sciences
Nexus of Ethics, Economics and Environment
Ocean sciences
Resource economics
Social science and governance

Participation in the Summit: Registration is limited, please contact the CSSP office at or Paul Bertsch ( of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents to express your interest in attending. Please also visit for additional information regarding participation, registration, and housing.

The Summit is endorsed by the International Council for Science (ICSU).