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Call for Papers for Special Issue of JET on “The Ethics of Geoengineering”


Posted: Jul 27, 2013

Submissions are invited for a special issue of the Journal of Evolution and Technology on the topic of the Ethics of Geoengineering. Deforestation, animal husbandry, the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities have resulted in the rise of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. The rapid rise in temperature is having dramatic impacts from massive storms to droughts near the equator, and it is vital to nearly all species on Earth that we actively reduce greenhouse gases. Geoengineering – a variety of massive projects to deflect sunlight or sequester carbon - is one possible way to slow and mitigate this environmental crisis, although the various methods being proposed all have attendant risks and ethical concerns.

Guest editor:

Jamais Cascio, co-founder of WorldChanging.com, and author of Hacking the Earth: Understanding the Consequences of Geoengineering He can be reached at cascio@openthefuture.com

Important dates

Submission deadline:  Nov 1, 2013
Notification of acceptance/rejection: Feb 1, 2014
Final revision deadline: March 1, 2014
Publication: Spring/Summer 2014

Focus of the Special Issue

The biosphere is so dramatically damaged by the emission of climate-changing carbon that humans must take on the responsibility of scientifically understanding its mechanics, and possibly using that knowledge to directly mitigate our climate-changing impacts. A growing number of scientists believe that we need to begin investigating methods of geoengineering as an adjunct to efforts to reduce carbon emissions, especially if climate change begins accelerating through feedback loops. The geoengineering methods that have been proposed include deflecting sunlight by ejecting reflective aerosols into the atmosphere or ringing the earth with space mirrors, as well as methods of sequestering carbon such as massive reforestation, capturing carbon emissions from agriculture and manufacturing and burying them, and changing the chemistry of the oceans to sequester more carbon. The impacts of these methods could be as disruptive and uneven as climate change itself, however, and different countries have very different interests in whether and how geoengineering might be undertaken.

For this issue of JET we would like to solicit papers exploring both the proposed geoengineering methods, and ethical, social and political questions that must be considered before they are explored and undertaken.  Which methods make sense to explore? How can we keep the pressure on to shift to renewable and sustainable forms of energy, agriculture and manufacturing if we avail ourselves of this techno-fix? What agencies should be empowered to research and undertake these initiatives? What risks and benefits should be considered? What kinds of evidence and modeling should be required before they are undertaken, and at what point should they be deployed?

Length and Style

We anticipate that this issue will contain around 10 papers and, as a working guide, the papers should be between 4000 and 12,000 words in length.  Instructions on format and style are here: http://jetpress.org/authors.html

Submission procedure

Manuscripts must be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word to cascio@openthefuture.com

Review process

Each submission will ideally receive two reviews. Completed reviews will be forwarded to the corresponding authors. Please suggest up to three external reviewers to facilitate the review process.


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