In a two-day conference, Degrees’ research collaborators, its CEO, and other leading experts gathered in New York to discuss solar radiation modification (SRM). Titled “Solar Geoengineering Futures: Interdisciplinary Research to Inform Decision-making”, it was hosted by Resources for the Future on 28 and 29 September 2023. The event unpacked the challenges, uncertainties, and benefits associated with SRM.
The conference opened with a panel moderated by Degrees science adviser, Dr Pete Irvine and made up exclusively of Degrees research collaborators, including Prof. John Moore, Dr Lili Xia, Dr Daniele Visioni, and Prof. Babatunde Abiodun (Prof. Abiodun is one of five Degrees grantees from the Global South that recently joined the ranks of research collaborators). As modelling experts, they dived into the biophysical impacts, knowns, unknowns, and need for further research of SRM.
Another pair of research collaborators, Dr Doug MacMartin and Dr Simone Tilmes, shared their insights during a panel session on the first day, which explored the role of SRM under different potential future mitigation and adaptation policy scenarios. They explained how SRM might work in combination with carbon dioxide removal and discussed the governance challenges around future research.
Degrees CEO Andy Parker was a speaker on the closing panel, which focused on funding, policy possibilities and priorities for SRM research. He stressed the importance of analysing SRM through a risk-risk framework to compare the expected impacts of SRM against those of a warming world.
The conference underlined the importance of continued research, public engagement and informed decision-making in SRM, particularly in developing countries. Many countries in the Global South are still missing from the conversation, and as the event’s discussions emphasised, they must be involved as they potentially have the most to gain and to lose from SRM.