Photo of Duncan McLaren

Duncan McLaren

Lancaster University
United Kingdom
Email d.mclaren [at] lancaster [period/dot]

Duncan McLaren’s research interests focus on the question why we (humans, societies) don’t do what we know we should (especially about environmental protection and social justice). He examines the interface between social imaginaries, cognitive biases, and business and political interests, currently focusing on promises about solar geoengineering are being deployed as another reason to delay just climate action. Duncan is also interested in how ideas of circularity and smartness are coopted by economic interests, and previously explored the role of carbon removal promises in climate policy. In an earlier career, he worked as an environmental researcher and campaigner for Friends of the Earth.

Duncan McLaren’s website.


Stephens JC, Kashwan P, McLaren D, Surprise K. 2021. “The Dangers of Mainstreaming Solar Geoengineering: A critique of the National Academies Report,” Environmental Politics. October 18, 2021:1-10.

Stephens JC, Kashwan P, McLaren D, Surprise K. 2021. “The risks of solar geoengineering research,” Science. 2021;372(6547):1161-1161.

Boettcher M, Brent K, Buck HJ, Low S, McLaren D, Mengis N. 2021. “Navigating Potential Hype and Opportunity in Governing Marine Carbon Removal,” Frontiers in Climate. 2021;3:47.

Duncan McLaren & Olaf Corry. Forthcoming. “Clash of Geofutures and the Remaking of Planetary Order: Faultlines underlying Conflicts over Geoengineering Governance,” Global Policy (Forthcoming).

Duncan McLaren. 2020. “The injustice in geoengineering: Restorative climate justice and justice as recognition.” In Has It Come to This? The Promises and Perils of Geoengineering on the Brink, Rutgers University Press (2020).

Duncan McLaren, Johan Niskanen, & Jonas Anshelm. 2020. “Reconfiguring repair: Contested politics and values of repair challenge instrumental discourses found in circular economies literature,” Resources, Conservation and Recycling (December 2020).

Duncan McLaren & Nils Markusson. 2020. “The co-evolution of technological promises, modelling, policies and climate change targets,” Nature Climate Change (April 2020).

Duncan McLaren, David Tyfield, Rebecca Willis, Bronislaw Szerszynski, & Nils Markusson. 2019. “Beyond ‘Net-Zero’: A Case for Separate Targets for Emissions Reduction and Negative Emissions,” Frontiers in Climate (August 2019).

Duncan McLaren & Julian Agyeman 2018. “Smart for a reason. Sustainability and social inclusion in the sharing city.” In Creating Smart Cities, Routledge (October 2018).

Duncan McLaren. 2018. “Whose climate and whose ethics? Conceptions of justice in solar geoengineering modelling,” Energy Research & Social Science (October 2018).

Duncan McLaren. 2018. “In a broken world: towards an ethics of repair in the Anthropocene,” Anthropocene Review (April 2018).

Duncan McLaren. 2003. “Environmental space, equity and the ecological debt.” In Just Sustainabilities, MIT Press (January 2003).

Media Coverage

Duncan McLaren writes on the unknown consequences of solar geoengineering and the need for careful governance. “Does responsible climate leadership include research into solar geoengineering?” Advanced Science News. April 12, 2021.