Call for abstracts for a fully funded research workshop:

The Politics and Governance of Negative Emissions Technologies: Between the Paris Agreement and the Anthropocene

15-16 June 2017, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Some scientists propose intentional large-scale interventions in natural systems to remove and sequester carbon dioxide. Collectively, these “negative emissions technologies” (NETs) could increase the feasibility of ambitious climate targets, such as those of the recent Paris Agreement to keep global warming “to well below 2°C,” and to endeavour to keep it within 1.5°C. Indeed, modelling repeatedly indicates that NETs at large scales are essential in any realistic scenario of meeting such internationally agreed-upon climate targets. It is unclear whether this would be technologically or economically possible, or whether it is merely a device to transform the impossible into the seemingly attainable. Furthermore, NETs at such scales would pose social and environmental risks. Deeper questions linger, such as whether this would amount to full scale realization of the Anthropocene, in which humans are a dominant force affecting natural systems. Unsurprisingly, NETs are controversial.

Despite the growing realization of NETs’ necessity, their international politics and policies remain amorphous and emerging. Clearly, there will be some form of politics and governance of NETs. Simultaneously, there will be governance by NETs. That is, NETs may serve as a form of governance of other responses to climate change. These matters will be contested; how they are contested and by whom may be novel and surprising.

This two-day workshop will bring together 20 to 25 leading researchers in political science, law, economics, and related social sciences to present papers on the emerging politics and governance of NETs. We invite scholars to contribute to the following questions:

  • How can the unfolding politics of NETs be understood, theorized, and projected?
  • In what ways can NETs be effectively, responsibly and legitimately developed and governed? How can NETs’ social and environmental risks be assessed, managed, and regulated? To what extent is innovative governance necessary?
  • What are some expected impacts of NETs on the politics and policies of other responses to climate change? How can these impacts be channeled to facilitate effective, legitimate, and innovative climate policies?
  • How does global environmental politics – particularly including those regarding the Paris Agreement – affect possibilities for developing NETs and how will NETs influence global environmental politics?

Proposals on other topics related to the politics and governance of NETs are welcome.

The workshop aims for a special issue of a peer-reviewed academic journal. The organizers are presently in discussions with potential outlets.

The following keynote speakers will give talks at the workshop:

  • Janos Pasztor, Senior Fellow and Director, Climate Geoengineering Governance Project, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs; former UN Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change
  • Frank Biermann, professor of Global Sustainability Governance, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; chair Earth System Governance Project
  • Steve Rayner, James Martin Professor of Science and Civilization and Director, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, Oxford University; co-director, Oxford Martin Programme on Resource Stewardship and the Oxford Geoengineering Programme

In addition, Detlef van Vuuren will give an opening presentation on the roles of negative emissions in climate change modelling. He is senior researcher, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency; Professor of Integrated Assessment of Global Environmental Change, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University.

Practicalities and submission deadlines:

  • Deadline for abstracts of up to 500 words: 29 January 2017
  • Applicants will be informed of the acceptance/rejection of their proposal: by 3 February 2017
  • Deadline for draft papers of up to 8000 words: 31 May 2017
  • Workshop participants are expected to prepare comments on the paper of one other participant.
  • Date and location of meeting: 15-16 June, Utrecht, The Netherlands, a 30 minute train ride from Schiphol Amsterdam airport.
  • Submissions for journal: September 2017
  • Final versions: Spring 2018
  • Special issue publication: Autumn 2018

Proposals for papers should be sent to the workshop organizer Jesse Reynolds ( of Utrecht University.

The workshop will be funded under the 4 year COST Action INOGOV (IS1309 Innovations in Climate Governance: Sources, Patterns and Effects) (2014-8). INOGOV will cover reasonable travel costs and accommodation of all invited participants from COST-INOGOV member countries, subject to standard COST reimbursement and eligibility rules. The costs of other participants can unfortunately not be covered. COST Action IS1309 INOGOV countries include: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.

Photo credit: Flickr/Shipley43

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