Manipulating the Planet: Is there a role for Negative Emissions Technologies in tackling climate change?

25 February 2013 17:30

Manipulating the Planet: Is there a role for Negative Emissions Technologies in tackling climate change?


Policy Exchange, Nesta and the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford are pleased to present this event as part of our Next Big Thing series.

Geoengineering, or large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment, is championed as a potential solution to climate change. However, the various technologies remain largely unproven and the unintended consequences of using such techniques are essentially unknown. Opponents have argued they risk creating greater environmental problems and that they undermine ongoing efforts at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by creating illusions of a quick ‘technical fix’. Yet, on the current trajectory, global efforts to combat rising CO2 levels are falling dangerously short and scientists argue that we need to understand the possibilities of geoengineering and think seriously about how we govern this highly controversial research.

This event will discuss the major geoengineering technologies being developed and how policymakers should proceed with research into these controversial technologies. Looking specifically at Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs), which target the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, this event will consider:

  • What are the major technologies being developed? What are NETs and what contribution can they make to climate change mitigation?
  • How should policymakers manage the risks created by such technologies, and how can such research be responsibly governed internationally?
  • Will support for NETs undermine or complement efforts at mitigation?
  • Is this the kind of technology Governments should support at all? And what is the role for the private sector, if any, in the development of these technologies?


  • CHAIR: Guy Newey, Head of Environment and Energy, Policy Exchange
  • Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
  • Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Research and Science, Friends of the Earth
  • Henrik Karlsson, CEO, Biorecro
  • Oliver Morton, Briefings Editor, The Economist
  • Professor Steve Rayner, Co-Director, Oxford Geoengineering Programme, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford


manipulating the planet: is there a role for negative emissions technologies in tackling climate change?