Guiding the Governance of Climate Geoengineering RD&D, Using the Oxford Principles

A decade of social science research on emerging technologies carried out and/or directed by Oxford researchers at InSIS (Institute for Science, Innovation and Society) provided the basis for the Oxford Principles for the Governance of Geoengineering Research. These Principles were endorsed by the House of Commons Science and Technology  Committee in 2010 and were subsequently accepted by the UK Government in its official response to the Committee’s report – meaning that appropriate governance arrangements are now a necessary precondition for responsible research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of geoengineering. The Principles have also been “generally endorsed” by the international geoengineering research community in its efforts to ensure responsible conduct in the controversial emerging area of environmental technology.



The Oxford Principles have made a direct and significant impact on the initial design of the policy process in a very short time and continue to influence international policy discourse.





The Oxford principles are:
  • Regulation as a public good, with private sector involvement
  • Public participation in decision-making
  • Full public disclosure of research plans and results
  • Independent assessment of impacts
  • Governance before deployment
The Oxford Principles were designed to apply to a heterogeneous range of technologies from the stage of early research through to implementation. The Principles synthesize social science insights from research into social values evident among the public in relation to novel technologies, such as GM foods, nanomaterials, and human enhancement technologies, into a set of guidelines for the governance of research on climate geoengineering. While the Principles were not the result of a single empirical research project, they represent the distillation of a decade of research on the regulation of frontier research as well as collaboration between researchers both at Oxford and beyond.





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Research funded by the Oxford Martin School and the ESRC.