Journal Article

Indicators and Metrics for the Assessment of Climate Engineering

AGU Earth's Future, 1 (5): 49-58

Selecting appropriate indicators is essential to aggregate the information provided by climate model outputs into a manageable set of relevant metrics on which assessments of climate engineering (CE) can be based. From all the variables potentially available from climate models, indicators need to be selected that are able to inform scientists and society on the development of the Earth system under climate engineering (CE), as well as on possible impacts and side effects of various ways of deploying CE or not. However, the indicators used so far have been largely identical to those used in climate change assessments and do not visibly reflect the fact that indicators for assessing CE (and thus the metrics composed of these indicators) may be different from those used to assess global warming. Until now, there has been little dedicated effort to identifying specific indicators and metrics for assessing CE. We here propose that such an effort should be facilitated by a more decision-oriented approach and an iterative procedure in close interaction between academia, decision makers and stakeholders. Specifically, synergies and trade-offs between social objectives reflected by individual indicators, as well as decision-relevant uncertainties should be considered in the development of metrics, so that society can take informed decisions about climate policy measures under the impression of the options available, their likely effects and side effects, and the quality of the underlying knowledge base.


Andreas Oschlies
Hermann Held
David Keller
Nadine Mengis
Martin Quaas
Hauke Schmidt


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