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Climate Engineering Impacts on New Zealand

As the challenges of meeting the Paris Climate Agreement target of limiting global mean surface temperature rise to below 2°C becomes clear, interest in climate engineering is growing. The recent IPCC report Global Warming of 1.5°C evaluated solar radiation management (SRM) as a climate engineering option and concluded  that while such measures ‘may be theoretically effective in reducing an overshoot, they face large uncertainties and knowledge gaps as well as substantial risks, institutional and social constraints to deployment related to governance, ethics, and impacts on sustainable development’. 

In mid-March 2019 Switzerland will introduce a resolution at the UN Environment Assembly in Kenya calling for an assessment of climate engineering methods and governance frameworks for each by August 2020. While some international research has investigated potential impacts of SRM on the global climate system in general, no research quantifies the  impacts on New Zealand’s climate, environment, primary industries, economy or  society, nor provides a basis for how New Zealand should respond to these developments. As such, New Zealand is ill-prepared to participate in international fora addressing climate engineering. To this end, Bodeker Scientific is leading a consortium of domestic and international researchers to develop funding proposals to establish a research programme (CLEINZ; CLimate Engineering Impacts on New Zealand) that will:

Create a comprehensive body of research that quantifies potential impacts of SRM on New Zealand’s climate, environment,economy, and society (Science)
Maps of surface climate, under different SRM scenarios, will be generated using a regional climate model (RCM) to down-scale Earth system model (ESM) output to the higher spatial and temporal resolutions required to assess SRM impacts. Existing global simulations of several SRM options will be extracted from international archives and supplemented with simulations from at least two state-of-the-art ESMs tailored to capture processes important for the climate of the southern mid-latitudes. RCM-derived maps will then drive specialised models to assess impacts on water availability and primary industries. To explore the global context of these impacts, CLEINZ will model their effects on New Zealand's trade and the wider economy. These lines of research will be shaped by early and broad consultation with stakeholders. 

Collate and document views, and legal positions, on climate engineering from a wide spectrum of stakeholders, with a focus on representing the perspectives and interests of Māori communities (Society) 
The visceral response of New Zealand society to climate engineering will be equally important as the climate and economic impacts in determining policy. As such, CLEINZ will conduct a two-way exchange of information through an engagement programme in which:
  1. Research results from Science will be communicated to targeted stakeholder groups, and to the public in general, through a tailored information dissemination programme.
  2. Feedback from stakeholders and the public will be distilled into a single, comprehensive, ‘societal position’ document. An emphasis will be on capturing and clearly articulating the multiple Māori world views (Te Ao Māori) aided through the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples (LCIP) Platform established at COP24. Several climate engineering options (not just SRM) will be canvased to capture New Zealand society's views on each.
To ensure that CLEINZ provides policy-relevant (but not prescriptive) information, domestic and international legal and policy frameworks for SRM will be analysed. This will inform an assessment of regulatory options, including rules relating to responsibility and liability for damage. Research results will be distilled into policy-relevant reports in close multilateral communication with stakeholders to inform New Zealand climate engineering policy development.

Our proposal is generating significant interest across several groups in New Zealand evidenced by the letters of support provided below. Should you wish to write a letter of support, please send that by email to Greg Bodeker (
 Organisation Link
 New Zealand Centre for Science and Citizenship Trust Letter of support
 The Nathaniel Centre Letter of support
 The InterChurch Bioethics Council Letter of support
 Malcolm Peterson Scott, University of Canterbury Letter of support
 Climate Change Taitokerau Northland Trust     Letter of support