We can’t afford to stop solar geoengineering research

The intense social pressure to shut down solar geoengineering research does not mean that all such research will end – it means that researchers who care about openness and transparency can stop their activities, and those who continue to reduce public concerns May be responding. They will be backed by funders who do not care about public opinion કદાચ perhaps private actors or the military અને and we may not hear all the findings. Absolute rule will be able to lead; If we do not succeed in phasing out fossil fuels, we will have to rely on their expertise in the future. And scientists from developing countries – who are already deprived of the opportunity to participate in this research – would be less able to do so if international organizations and philanthropists did not provide funding.

Solar geoengineering research needs public funding by national science agencies. This can help ensure many important things. It can maintain public oversight of research and enable the creation of research programs where social scientists and governance scholars are integrated from the outset, creating the critical type of interdisciplinary research required for the subject. What’s more, public funds can be designed to promote international scientific cooperation. For example, a paper presented at AGU that looked at the effects of solar geoengineering on crop yields included researchers from Norway, the US, South Korea and China. We want to continue this kind of cooperation, not suppress it.

Perhaps most importantly, national funding agencies can frame research programs to comprehensively investigate potential risks and benefits, ensuring full attention to everything that could go wrong. Without this systematic approach, what is published may be just a trick of studies showing the best results, which looks better than what is solar geoengineering. Is the study of crop yield good? What does he miss? To find the answers, we need not less but more study, and we need organizations like IPCC that evaluate it all together.

No scientist is happy about the potential of solar geoengineering. But we need a pipeline of thoughtful, experienced people who understand both science and governance issues. If we discourage people from developing those skills, we will not like the results.

It takes years to develop good science. If we postpone research until the 2030s, we will find ourselves in a world that has made some uneven progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but not enough, with temperatures still hovering around 3 ° C. Then we can’t hope to suddenly produce rigorous science that will help us understand whether solar geoengineering is advisable or not. For starters, the United States should adhere to the well-thought-out recommendations set by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee, which has recently tackled this and should now fund a modest, careful research program.

Holly Jean is an assistant professor and author of Environment and Sustainability at Buffalo University. The end of fossil fuels: Why Net Zero is not enough,

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