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Mapping Wild Cards

Inspired by: FP7 » Geoengineering “solves” carbon problems but…

version: 7 / updated: 2011-02-09
id: #1642 / version id: #1315
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Rafael Popper
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Last changed by: Rafael Popper
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Source of inspiration

European Commission Framework Programme for RTD (FP7)

Theme/activity of inspiration

Theme 6 - Environment (including Climate Change)

Sub-theme/area of inspiration

Pressures on environment and climate

Optional reference/s to FP7 project/s

Use the following format: Project Acronym (Project Reference No.). Use commas if more than one project is associated to this Wild Card, for example: ALFA-BIRD (213266), SAFAR (213374), LAPCAT-II (211485)
IMPLICC (226567) addresses the call ”Implications and Risks of Novel Options to Limit Climate Change“ within the activity "Climate Change, Pollution and Risks” of the European Union's framework-7 programme (FP7) for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013).


(max. 9 words)

Geoengineering “solves” carbon problems but…


(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Wild Card (approx. 150 words)
Geoengineering "solutions" to deliberately reduce the effects of continued greenhouse gas emissions can destabilize global and regional climates - and also the political and legal framework. Among many possible examples: A fleet of cloud-maker ships is launched by a consortium of benefactors, NGOs and offsetting companies, in order to produce large quantities of white clouds which block solar radiation. These aim to bypass the stalemate of international negotiations on targets and market mechanisms. However there is controversy on the effects and side-effects: uneven costs and benefits across geographical areas and different industries. There is economic damage to many sectors: there are attempts to sabotage or appropriate the tools for military use. Some stakeholders are outrages at the moral hazard effect which allows carbon emissions to continue, and seek to restrict the use of such systems over regions where they have sway. Criminal activities are also possible: corruption and bribery, plus some of the ships are taken over for use as pirate bases or as pawns in political struggles.


geoengineering, environment, greenhouse, climate, disaster


(max. 250 characters)

Geoengineering "solutions" to deliberately reduce the effects of continued greenhouse gas emissions can destabilize global and regional climates - and also the political and legal framework.


Closest timeframe for at least 50% likelihood
Please use one of the following options:

Features of life if the wild card manifests

Feature 1: business models and industrial environment
The carbon credit and offset market are changed by the selling of 'solar radiation management' (SRM) credits to fund the geo-engineering.
Feature 2: education and research environment
Climate research needs to engage with issues such as terrorism and legal moral hazard for which it is not yet equipped.
Feature 3: consumers, markets and lifestyles
Increased cloud cover has many effects, not least on tourism and leisure.
Feature 4: technology and infrastructure
Indirectly, fossil fuel use is encouraged.
Feature 5: politics and global affairs
International negotiations are destabilized and undermined.
Feature 6: health and quality of life
Increased cloud cover has many effects, not least on tourism and leisure.
Feature 7: security and defence
The cloud maker ships become controversial issues and some are taken over by pirates or criminal organisations.

Type of event

Unplanned consequence of events/trends/situations (e.g. financial crisis, accidental breakthrough)

Type of emergence

please select (if any) describe related trend or situation
A counter trend/development/situation
(e.g. There is a massive decline in mobile phone usage due to fears of health hazards; Considerations of privacy lead to the banning of video surveillance in public spaces

Historical parallels

various dilemmas cause by technological progress

Type of systems affected





please specify:
please select
Level 3: important for the European Union
Level 4: important for the whole world

Early indicators

(including weak signals)

Detailed feasibility studies.

Latent phase

Obstacles for early indentification

institutional filters (rules, laws, regulations)
scientific filters (knowledge/technology access)
political filters (party or ideological interests)

Manifestation phase

Type of manifestation

In a probably pervasive way (contagious or transmittable)

Aftermath phase

Important implications
Transformation of a system (e.g. new applications, change in stakeholders relations/influence)


social & political transformation of the international climate agreements uner UNFCCC

Key drivers or triggers

Provide up to 2 possible drivers or triggers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
please describe
Driver / Trigger 1
please describe
Driver / Trigger 2
Technological/Scientific Feasibility of global climate technology.
Values/Ethical/Cultural Increase in philanthropic & NGO and voluntary carbon markets.

Potential impacts (risks & opportunities)

Timeframe options
Risks Opportunities
short term
(1 to 5 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Stabilisation of short term climate change,
medium term
(5 to 10 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Other climatic & geophysical effects.

Potential stakeholders' actions

it occurs
it occurs
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) Public deliberation on risks & opportunities of short term actions.
Academic/Research sector Research on integrated pathways for social / political/ environmental / engineering actions.
Non-for-profit organisations (e.g. NGOs, political parties, social movements, voluntary associations) Public deliberation on risks & opportunities of short term actions.

Relevance for Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Crime and terrorism
Food security and diet
Governance and trust in democracy
Energy security/dynamics
Globalization vs. localization
Techno-security, hazard & risk
Sustainability and climate change
Water security/vulnerability

Relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology
Environment (including Climate Change)

Pan-European strategies potentially helping to deal with the wild card

please justify:
particularly relevant
Facilitating and promoting knowledge sharing and transfer
Fostering and facilitating coherent international cooperation in science and technology

 Features of a research-friendly ecology contributing to deal with the wild card

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here

please justify:
particularly relevant
Overcoming sub-criticality and systemic failures
To be subcritical means that the effort in a particular field or subfield lacks resources, equipment or a sufficient number of researchers to achieve a desired goal
Creating a closer link between researchers & policy-makers
(e.g. supporting both thematic and cross-cutting policies, highlighting the strategic purpose of the European Research Area, etc.

Relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
This wild card is an example of the type of highly integrated, trans-disciplinary and policy-relevant research which is needed to respond to global challenges. Need for tools of risk assessment that can grapple with social as well as technical dimensions.