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Governing geoengineering research for the Great Barrier Reef


McDonald, J and McGee, J and Brent, K and Burns, W, Governing geoengineering research for the Great Barrier Reef, Climate Policy, 19, (7) pp. 801-811. ISSN 1469-3062 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2019 Informa UK Limited

DOI: doi:10.1080/14693062.2019.1592742


Coral reefs are highly vulnerable to the impacts of rising marine temperatures and marine heatwaves. Mitigating dangerous climate change is essential and urgent, but many reef systems are already suffering on current levels of warming. Geoengineering options are worth exploring to protect the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) from extreme warming conditions, but we contend that they require strong governance and public consultation from the outset. Australian governments are currently funding feasibility testing of three geoengineering proposals for the GBR. Each proposal involves manipulating ocean or atmospheric conditions to lower water temperatures and thereby reduce the threat of mass coral bleaching events. Innovative strategies to protect the GBR and field testing of these is essential, but current laws do not guarantee robust governance for field testing of these technologies. Nor do they provide the foundation for a more coherent national policy on climate intervention technologies more generally. Responsible governance frameworks, including detailed risk assessment and early public consultation, are necessary for geoengineering research to build legitimacy and promote scientific progress.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, geoengineering, solar radiation management, Great Barrier Reef
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Environmental and resources law
Research Field:Environmental law
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:McDonald, J (Professor Jan McDonald)
UTAS Author:McGee, J (Associate Professor Jeffrey McGee)
UTAS Author:Brent, K (Dr Kerryn Brent)
ID Code:132798
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Office of the Faculty of Law
Deposited On:2019-05-21
Last Modified:2020-08-17

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