--> Solar Climate Engineering and Intellectual Property: Toward a Research Commons – Jesse Reynolds / scholar of international environmental policy
with Jorge L. Contreras and Joshua D. Sarnoff
18 Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology 1-110
Publication year: 2017

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges confronting society today. Solar climate engineering (SCE) has the potential to reduce climate risks substantially. This controversial technology would make the earth more reflective in order to counteract global warming. The science of SCE is still in its infancy, and SCE research and development should proceed in a coordinated, responsible, and expeditious fashion. However, the roles of patents, research data, and trade secrets in SCE research remain unclear and contested. To this end, this article identifies concerns that may arise from the acquisition of intellectual property rights in SCE and proposes the formation of an SCE “research commons” and “pledging” to facilitate responsible SCE research and development. This research commons would permit public and private sector research institutions around the globe to share their research data. They would also pledge to avoid trade secret protections and that any patents they obtain would be managed so as to reduce unnecessary barriers to research and development of safe and effective SCE technologies.