The Degrees Initiative doubles solar radiation modification research in the Global South

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Bristol, UK, 8 February 2023: A major expansion in developing country research into the impacts of solar radiation modification (SRM) was announced today. The new projects—across Africa, Asia and South America—will more than double the number of research teams exploring how SRM could affect the Global South.

SRM, which is also known as solar geoengineering or climate intervention, is a controversial proposal for reducing some of the risks of global warming. If ever implemented, it might involve spraying tiny particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect some sunlight back out into space and reduce the impacts of climate change.

With global temperatures rising rapidly, SRM has the potential to be very helpful or very harmful, and the stakes are particularly high in the climate-vulnerable regions of the Global South.

The new research projects will empower scientists in developing countries as they explore how SRM could affect their regions. For example, a team in Cameroon will research how SRM could impact water resources in West Africa, while a joint South African-Brazilian project will explore how sunlight reflection might affect biodiversity around the world.

For details on the Degrees Initiative 2023 projects and teams click here

The projects represent a doubling of the Degrees Modelling Fund (DMF), which is run as a partnership between the Degrees Initiative, an NGO dedicated to putting the Global South at the centre of the SRM conversation, and TWAS, The World Academy of Sciences. This new round of grants cements the DMF’s position as the largest SRM research initiative in the world.

Since 2018, the DMF (originally DECIMALS) has awarded more than $1.8M in research grants to 150 researchers in 21 countries. It has supported the first SRM research projects in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Scientists from the 2018 grant round are changing the face of SRM research—presenting their findings at international conferences, contributing to reports on SRM, and even giving TED talks about it.

“The climate-vulnerable countries of the Global South must be central to any efforts to understand solar radiation modification (SRM),” says Andy Parker, founder and CEO of the Degrees Initiative. “The more Global South experts understand SRM and its implications, the better placed they will be to shape SRM governance arrangements, to stand up for their interests, and to resist any bad-faith attempts to persuade them to support or oppose SRM.”

Professor Nana Ama Browne Klutse, who is leading the DMF research project in Ghana, said: “West Africa is one of the most climate-vulnerable regions in the world and home to over 400 million people. We need to know more about the impacts of SRM if we are ever to make informed decisions about the sub-region.”

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