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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25762.
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Page 287
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25762.
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Page 288
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25762.
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Page 289
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25762.
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Page 290

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

APPENDIX A Statement of Task T he National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine proposes to un- dertake a study that would develop a research agenda and recommend research governance approaches for climate intervention strategies that reflect sunlight to cool Earth. The proposed study would aim to address research needs and relevant research governance in tandem, such that the understanding and thinking on each can inform the other. The study will focus on sunlight reflection strategies that involve atmospheric inter- ventions, including marine cloud brightening, stratospheric aerosol injection, and cirrus cloud modification. It will consider trans-disciplinary research related to under- standing the baseline chemistry, radiative balance, and other characteristics of the atmosphere; estimating the potential impacts and risks, both positive and negative, of these interventions on the atmosphere, climate system, natural and managed ecosys- tems, and human systems; technological feasibility of these interventions; and ap- proaches and metrics for detecting, monitoring and quantifying the multiple physical and societal impacts of solar climate interventions. The study will explore and recommend appropriate research governance mecha- nisms at international, national, and sub-national scales. It will consider research gov- ernance that already exists, examples of research governance mechanisms currently being used or considered for other areas of scientific inquiry that could be adapted to the realm of climate intervention research, and any potentially new frameworks required. The committee will include two subpanels (composed of members of the committee) that will organize two workshops to address the research agenda and research gover- nance considerations listed below. Drawing upon these workshops, other information gathering activities, and deliberations among the full membership, the committee will author a single consensus report providing its findings and recommendations. The committee will: 1. Develop a detailed trans-disciplinary research agenda for sunlight reflection strategies. The committee will assess questions such as: • What research is needed to assess the feasibility, efficacy, and risks of the proposed approaches? 287 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

APPENDIX A • What research is needed to assess likely impacts and risks of reduced solar radiation on key global systems (including the oceans, ice sheets, food and fiber production, human health, solar and wind energy, terrestrial ecosys- tem functioning and biodiversity, and global biogeochemical cycles) and on achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals? What are the risks (environmental, social, geopolitical) of conducting such research? • What research is needed to assess how reducing solar radiation could help avoid or trigger critical transitions in environmental systems? • What relevant research is happening currently in the United States and abroad? What have we learned from this work? • What are the important knowledge gaps and key technical constraints (such as model resolution or cloud physics)? • What research is needed to address the knowledge gaps and key technical constraints? What are reasonable research goals for the next decade? • What investments in observations, modeling capabilities, and other sup- porting research infrastructure will be necessary to advance the research agenda? • What are benefits of the proposed research in advancing other areas of science? 2. Explore and recommend appropriate research governance mechanisms. The committee will assess questions such as: • How best to foster meaningful public participation and consultation in research planning and oversight, and to ensure transparency and account- ability regarding a project’s goals and plans, potential risks, and eventual results? • How to ensure that research is designed to minimize the chances of unintended impacts and is aimed at promoting the collective benefit of humankind and the environment? • How to identify and apply professional standards of good scientific conduct? • How to balance adequate oversight, review, public consultation, and ap- proval mechanisms with norms for freedom of scientific inquiry? • How to harness the benefits of potential private sector involvement (e.g., innovation, capital investment, cost minimization) without creating vested financial interests in operational deployment, inappropriate intellectual property claims, or threats to national and international public good? 288 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

Appendix A • What statutory limits might affect what work can be funded by federal agencies and what research may need to adhere to particular existing federal policies or international agreements or processes? • How to identify the governance mechanisms that should be in place in advance of field research at various scales? The committee will be encouraged to look at examples of research governance mechanisms currently being used or considered for other areas of scientific inquiry that could be adapted to the realm of climate intervention research. 289 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

Next: Appendix B: Speakers from the Committee Meetings & Webinars »
Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance Get This Book
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Climate change is creating impacts that are widespread and severe for individuals, communities, economies, and ecosystems around the world. While efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts are the first line of defense, researchers are exploring other options to reduce warming. Solar geoengineering strategies are designed to cool Earth either by adding small reflective particles to the upper atmosphere, by increasing reflective cloud cover in the lower atmosphere, or by thinning high-altitude clouds that can absorb heat. While such strategies have the potential to reduce global temperatures, they could also introduce an array of unknown or negative consequences.

This report concludes that a strategic investment in research is needed to enhance policymakers' understanding of climate response options. The United States should develop a transdisciplinary research program, in collaboration with other nations, to advance understanding of solar geoengineering's technical feasibility and effectiveness, possible impacts on society and the environment, and social dimensions such as public perceptions, political and economic dynamics, and ethical and equity considerations. The program should operate under robust research governance that includes such elements as a research code of conduct, a public registry for research, permitting systems for outdoor experiments, guidance on intellectual property, and inclusive public and stakeholder engagement processes.

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