An Economic Analysis of Liability and Compensation for Harm from Large-Scale Field Research in Solar Climate Engineering

in Climate Law
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Solar climate engineering is under increasing consideration as a potential means to reduce climate change risks. Its field research may generate knowledge to reduce climate risks to humans and the environment and will, at a large-enough scale, pose its own risks, some of which will be of the transboundary kind. Liability or compensation for harm is frequently referenced as a possible component of international regulation of solar climate engineering but has been insufficiently developed. This article offers an economic analysis of the possible interrelated roles of rules, liability, and compensation in the future international regulation of large-scale field research in solar climate engineering. Notably, the benefits, risks, and incentives of climate-engineering research are unlike typical high-risk activities. The analysis proposes a hypothetical international agreement that links general and procedural rules for research, an international compensation fund, and limited, indirect state liability with a duty-of-care defence.

An Economic Analysis of Liability and Compensation for Harm from Large-Scale Field Research in Solar Climate Engineering

in Climate Law




Olivier Boucher et al.‘Clouds and Aerosols’ in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basisedited by Thomas F. Stocker et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2013) at 575.


 See e.g. Steven Shavell‘Liability for Accidents’ in Handbook of Law and Economicsedited by A. Mitchell Polinsky and Steven Shavell (Amsterdam: North-Holland 2007).


Dominique ForayThe Economics of Knowledge (Cambridge: mit Press2004) at 113–29.


International Law Commission‘Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts’ in Report of the International Law Commission 53rd session Official Records of the General Assemblyun A/56/10 (2001) art. 31; Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (open for signature 19 December 1966 entered into force 10 October 1967) 610 unts 205 article vii; Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (adopted 29 November 1971 entered into force 1 September 1972) 961 unts 187 (hereinafter Space Liability Convention).


International Law Commission‘Draft Principles on the Allocation of Loss in the Case of Transboundary Harm Arising Out of Hazardous Activities’ in Report of the International Law Commission 58th Session Official Records of the General AssemblyA/61/10 (2006) principle. 2(a).


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