Oxford Geoengineering Programme

Geoengineering World in a Petri Dish

The Oxford Geoengineering Programme was founded in 2010 as an initiative of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford.
What are we doing?
Our research centres around the question of what, if any, geoengineering techniques could be most effectively employed, and how such a global process might be governed. 

Why is it important?
Geoengineering is the deliberate, large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to address climate change. Although we believe that society’s first priority should be to reduce global carbon emissions, in dealing with climate change it may be wise to consider geoengineering the climate to reduce the harmful levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  

How are we different?
Our programme is a unique partnership that includes engineers, natural scientists and experts in governance to focus equally on robust science and thoroughly considered ethics. A core component of our activity includes engagement with policy makers, opinion formers and environmental NGOs to build a collaborative and multi-perspective platform for open debate.


  • Heyward, C., Savulescu, J. and Rayner, S., (2017), 'Early Geoengineering Governance: The Oxford Principles'. in D. Kaplan, (Ed.)   Philosophy, Technology and Environment. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) 

James Martin Geoengineering Ethics Working Group

A storm raging over the landscape with lightning in the distance

A James Martin Geoengineering Ethics Working Group has recently developed a working paper on the ethics of geo-engineering. Read more about the key issues to be addressed, access the full paper, and find out how to comment.

Should we encourage or avoid large scale environmental manipulation, for example in order to reduce climate change?

Measures such as carbon dioxide capture or ocean iron fertilisation have the potential to mitigate global warming, but what ethical issues are raised by these technologies? How should we take into account the potential risks of such measures, and how should they be weighed against the risks of inaction?

James Martin Geoengineering Ethics Working Group:

  • Russell Powell, James Martin Fellow
  • Steve Clarke, James Martin Fellow Mark Sheehan, James Martin Fellow
  • Tom Douglas, James Martin Fellow
  • Bennett Foddy, Deputy Director, Institute for Science and Ethics
  • Julian Savulescu, Director, Institute for Science and Ethics and Geoengineering Programme

We welcome feedback and comments on the paper via our blog or by email