How to think safely about Solar Radiation Modification?

Photo by Bia Andrade on Unsplash

Photo by Bia Andrade on Unsplash

In this ‘spotlight on risk’ article, we present a possible decision framework to help policymakers become more confident that thinking about possible use of stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) is not dangerous. If concrete scientific evidence is found that SAI can contribute effectively to reducing global temperature increase caused by rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and if research and populations find that the risks associated with SAI are acceptable, then a clear framework will be necessary. 

Solar radiation modification (SRM), also known as solar geoengineering, could be one among several strategies to combat the consequences of climate change. Much of the attention is currently focused on stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), one of the leading SRM techniques, which involves spraying aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect incoming solar radiation, imitating the cooling effects observed after large volcanic eruptions.

In “Using stratospheric aerosol injection to alleviate global warming: when?,” Marie-Valentine Florin suggests a possible decision framework to help policymakers consider using SAI. The article focuses on the establishment of strict criteria for the timing of when SAI may or should be started, and when it should be stopped.

Read IRGC's spotlight on risk article