Development community engages with SRM at GEM23

photo of Andy Park and Ines Camilloni and GEM23 Harvard
Degrees CEO Andy Parker and DMF scientist Inés Camilloni at GEM23: Growing in a Green World in May 2023 at Harvard University, USA. Photo Credits: The Degrees Initiative.

How could solar radiation modification (SRM) be governed in a way that supports the economic, environmental and social priorities of the Global South? The Degrees Initiative introduced leading development experts to this thorny yet critical discussion at this year’s Global Empowerment Meeting: Growing in a Green World (GEM23), from 10-11 May.

The annual conference, organised by the Harvard Center for International Development, is an important fixture in policy circles, where change-makers from academia, government, civil society and philanthropy tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. This year it focused on new pathways to combat climate change, from the perspective of “developing economies  who are on the frontlines of a warming planet”.   

Argentinian DMF scientist Inés Camilloni and Degrees CEO Andy Parker attended as panel members and discussion facilitators for the session titled Informed Decision-Making on Solar Geoengineering. They were joined by Shuchi Talati, founder of the Alliance for Just Deliberation on Solar Geoengineering and Joseph Aldy, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The session underlined the importance of capacity-building for SRM evaluation in the Global South. Participants included development experts from India, Pakistan, Honduras, Panama,  and Ethiopia, and topics discussed included the participation of civil society in SRM evaluation, support for research, the ethical dilemmas posed by implementing/rejecting SRM, and what good global decision-making might look like.

While participants made excellent headway in the hour of group discussion, they realised they had only just scratched the surface of all of the scientific, governance and ethical dilemmas around climate intervention. It was agreed that much further engagement with developing countries would be needed to have a chance of making equitable and informed decisions about SRM.

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