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The Dangers of Mainstreaming Solar Geoengineering: A critique of the National Academies Report

October 20, 2021

In a new article, CSSN scholars Jennie Stephens, Prakash Kashwan, Duncan McLaren and Kevin Surprise critique the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine 2021 report on solar geoengineering research. 

Read the article in Environmental Politics

Abstract

The U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) 2021 report on solar geoengineering research is a political intervention in global climate politics. Although the NASEM report explicitly acknowledges the risks of unilateral research without broad-based public participation and global governance, the report minimizes these concerns by recommending that the U.S. act swiftly to establish a publicly funded national research program. By providing details for how the research program should be designed, the report contradicts its own recommendations for an inclusive and international process. By mainstreaming solar geoengineering, the report risks increasing the likelihood of international conflict and unilateral deployment, and further exacerbates delays in prioritizing other climate actions. Instead of expanding research on global manipulation of the earth’s climate, the United States, like other countries around the world, should commit to multilateral, coordinated efforts to phase out fossil fuels, advance global climate action, and invest in climate justice.

 

image credit: Shutterstock/Krivosheev Vitaly