Statement on Draft UNEA-6 SRM Resolution

Summary 

The Degrees Initiative is a nongovernmental organisation that builds the capacity of developing countries and emerging economies to evaluate solar radiation modification (SRM). We support SRM research in 19 countries across the Global South[1].

We welcome the discussion of SRM within UNEA and we are supportive of expert-led processes to evaluate the potential risks, benefits and implications of SRM. We invite delegates to note: 

if the parties do decide to establish an international expert scientific group to report on SRM, there are experienced SRM experts in South America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia who would be able to contribute.

 

SRM and the Global South 

SRM could be very helpful or very harmful. As UNEP’s recent One Atmosphere report concluded, “SRM is the only option that could cool the planet within years”. Therefore, if mitigation proves insufficient, SRM might be the only way to keep global temperature rises below 1.5°C or 2°C. But it could also have damaging side effects, could cause political tensions, and could distract politicians from cutting emissions.   

The stakes are high, and an inclusive, informed global conversation is needed. SRM is an issue that particularly matters to developing countries, which are often on the front lines of climate change. If SRM could work to reduce climate impacts, climate-vulnerable countries they stand to gain the most. But if SRM goes wrong or is rejected prematurely, they stand to lose the most. It is therefore critical that the countries of the Global South play a central role in SRM research, governance and decision-making  

The Degrees Initiative 

Since 2010, the Degrees Initiative has worked to build the capacity of developing countries and emerging economies to evaluate SRM. We run workshops, fund SRM research, and build an expert community across the Global South. The Degrees Modelling Fund is the largest SRM research programme in the world, currently supporting over 120 researchers across 25 projects in 19 developing countries. 

The Degrees Initiative is neutral on whether SRM should ever be used and will neither promote nor oppose it. And we emphasise that SRM cannot be an alternative to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But the world needs more evidence if it’s to make an informed decision about SRM, and a much broader conversation, especially in the Global South, if it’s going to make an equitable decision. 

Against this background, we welcome the conversation about SRM at UNEA. We note that if the parties do decide to establish an international expert scientific group to report on SRM, there are now experienced SRM experts in South America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia who would be able to contribute.

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[1] The Degrees Modelling Funds supports SRM research projects in: Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda.

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