DMF scientists respond to NYT opinion piece on SRM

On 18 April, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke titled My Continent Is Not Your Giant Climate Laboratory”. The piece contained a number of misleading statements about efforts to support research and governance of solar radiation modification (SRM) around Africa—efforts from organisations like Degrees, Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G) and the Climate Overshoot Commission (COC).

In response, a group of 18 African climate scientists who are researching SRM through the Degrees Modelling Fund wrote to the New York Times. The letter—so far unpublished— corrects some misrepresentations and makes the case for expanded SRM research and evaluation in Africa: 

Dear Editor,

Response to Opinion, “My Continent Is Not Your Giant Climate Laboratory”

As African climate scientists engaged in solar geoengineering research through the Degrees Modeling Fund (DMF), we believe our work has been misrepresented in the opinion piece, “My Continent Is Not Your Giant Climate Laboratory”.

The Earth will likely breach 1.5°C of warming in the early 2030s, and in Africa every 0.1°C of warming exacerbates our climate risks. UNEP reports “SRM is the only option to cool the planet within years”, and this might reduce some of these risks. However, SRM carries its own risk, so understanding the balance of risks is crucial.

We believe home-grown SRM research counters the exploitation of our continent by developed nation agendas. Accordingly, 11 African DMF research teams are using climate model simulations to assess (theoretically) the potential impacts of SRM across Africa. This will develop an African-sourced, scientifically sound, policy relevant SRM knowledge base and empower our continent to take its rightful place at the decision-making table. 

Africa’s Agenda 2063 demands our engagement in SRM research, or our continent does indeed risk becoming a giant climate laboratory.

Assoc. Prof. Babatunde Abiodun (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Dr Ballo Abdoulaye (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Dr Vincent O. Ajayi (Federal University Of Technology, Akure, Nigeria)

Dr Dommo Atanas (National Advanced School of Engineering, University of Yaoundé, Cameroon)

Dr Frédéric Kpèdonou Bonou (Université Nationale des Sciences, Technologies, Ingénierie et Mathématiques & Institut de Recherches Halieutiques et Océanologiques du Bénin, Bénin)

Dr Amadou Coulibaly (Rural Polytechnic Institute of Training and Applied Research,  IPR-IFRA, Katibougou, Mali)

Dr Arona Diedhiou (Institute of Research for Development (IRD), University Felix Houphouet Boigny, Côte d’Ivoire)

Dr Temitope S. Egbebiyi (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Dr Thierry C. Fotso-Nguemo (National Institute of Cartography, Cameroon)

Flore Djuidje Kamogne (National Institute of Cartography, Cameroon)

Prof. Nana Ama Browne Klutse (University of Ghana, Ghana)

Dr Chris Lennard (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Jean Pierre Nghonda (National Institute of Cartography & University of Maroua, Cameroon)

Dr Francis Nkrumah (University of Cape Coast, Ghana)

Dr Romaric C. Odoulami (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Dr Franklin Opijah (University of Nairobi, Kenya)

Dr Kwesi A. Quagraine (University of Cape Coast, Ghana)

Dr Gandomè Mayeul Léger Davy Quenum (National Institute of Water, University of Abomey-Calavi, Godomey, Cotonou, Benin)

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