The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment (FCEA), from Washington’s American University has issued a groundbreaking report on why the world must put in place international measures to govern Solar Radiation Management technologies, also known as Solar Geoengineering, before any potential testing or deployment takes place.
As the world lags on urgent efforts to reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions, a growing number of scientists and policy makers are exploring whether Solar Radiation Management could be an option to help avert catastrophic global warming. “The growing threat of runaway climate change means Solar Radiation Management is being treated increasingly seriously by scientists and governments. We can’t afford to ignore this debate,” says Simon Nicholson, co-executive director of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment. “This report sends a powerful signal: that leading world experts with profoundly different views on Solar Radiation Management research can find common ground on the need for its governance, and on measures to do so.”
Fourteen leading global governance experts, including ENP’s Aarti Gupta and Myanna Lahsen, contributed to the report.
"The starting point was that research is happening and we need to talk about it," said Aarti Gupta, in a Reuters/VOA published article one the topic (https://www.voanews.com/a/climate-risks-scientists-rules-solar-engineering/4595057.html).
Highlights of the observations and recommendations include:
- Regardless of what one believes about the ultimate wisdom of Solar Radiation Management, governance is essential and must commence now. The world must take early, careful steps to govern these technologies.
- Governing Solar Radiation Management research is an immediate priority. Near-term governance of Solar Radiation Management means governing research and allowing proper social consideration of that research. Policy makers must strike a balance between facilitating potentially valuable research, whilst putting in place safeguards to reduce risk and avoid premature deployment.
- Solar Radiation Management research must be transparent, and consider all the risks, costs and potential benefits, including their effect on poor and marginalized groups.
- Robust governance must be in place before any consideration of deployment. This can include working with existing international organizations, and potentially creating new bodies, such as a new World Commission.