Degrees’ Inés Camilloni and Andy Parker discuss risk-risk framing and SRM research at UN science summit

From left to right, Dr Vibha Dhawan (TERI), Clara Blotto (SRMYW), Janos Pasztor (C2G), Prof. Inés Camilloni (Degrees), Andy Parker (Degrees) and Dr Shuchi Talati (DSG) during UN Science Summit session in New York, USA. Photo Credit: the Degrees Initiative.

How can we make well-informed decisions about solar radiation modification (SRM)? Two representatives of Degrees, CEO Andy Parker and Degrees-funded climate scientist Prof. Inés Camilloni were part of a high-level panel that addressed this question during a special Science Summit session in New York on 26 September 2023, in advance of the UN General Assembly.

The session, co-organised by the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Degrees, provided insights into the key knowledge and governance gaps around making well-informed decisions on SRM and how those gaps might be addressed.

UNESCO Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences, Gabriela Ramos, opened the session by outlining the ethical questions surrounding SRM technologies. She noted that “there is also a lack of research in the Global South and there is also a lack of governance on this matter [SRM]” and stressed that “the debate needs to be global and include all the countries in the Global South in particular.”

“As an IPCC author of the 1.5 °C report, SRM was one of the issues that was discussed in the report. And I realised that nobody from the Global South was really involved in the discussion. It was a Global North discussion, among scientists from the North. So, I decided that we should produce more information from our region to be part of this conversation. That’s why I am here.”

Prof. Camilloni and Parker delivered a keynote presentation on SRM knowledge gaps and the risk-risk framing. Briefly stated, this framing suggests that the impacts of SRM can only meaningfully be evaluated in comparison to the risks of a warmed world.

They were followed by Dr Shuchi Talati, founder of the Alliance for Just Deliberation on Solar Geoengineering, who gave a presentation on public engagement in solar geoengineering. 

The panel discussion was moderated by Executive Director of C2G, Janos Pasztor, and included Prof. Camilloni alongside a range of high-level stakeholders from across different sectors and regions.

Discussions evolved around the ethical dilemmas posed by implementing or rejecting SRM, the role of private actors and the importance of regulation, as well as the need for an inclusive and global conversation about the risks from SRM and climate change. 

Panellists outlined the key considerations for making informed decisions about SRM. Their conversations generally underlined the need for further SRM research and broader stakeholder engagement, particularly in the Global South, to generate the necessary information to enable inclusive and informed decision-making on this subject.

“The risk-risk framing doesn’t tell you whether or not to use SRM and it can’t be the last word on the topic. It is the starting point for any serious analysis of SRM.”
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Andy Parker
CEO of the Degrees Initiative