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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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 24
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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 25
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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.
×
Page 26
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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.
×
Page 27
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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.
×
Page 28
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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.
×
Page 29
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." 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 30

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.

CHAPTER ONE Introduction C limate change is a defining challenge of the 21st century. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by more than 1°C. This warming has already resulted in impacts on every conti- nent and in the oceans. Observed impacts range from more frequent heat waves to increased coastal flooding associated with rising sea level (Herring et al., 2019; IPCC, 2014b). Warming temperatures are changing the distribution and composition of ecosystems, shifting cropping seasons and cultivars, and causing intensified conflicts over water resources. In the oceans, the warming and increased acidification caused by rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels is damaging coral reefs, with Australia’s Great Bar- rier Reef experiencing its third major bleaching event in the past 5 years. Powerful new analytical techniques are revealing impacts of warming that has already occurred on crop yields, wildfires, and economic inequality (Abatzoglou and Williams, 2016; Diffen- baugh and Burke, 2019; Duffy et al., 2019). The impacts depend on the amount of warming that occurs, with risks that are wide- spread, severe, and irreversible (IPCC, 2014b). If the global mean surface temperature rise were limited to 1.5°C, many risks would be substantially moderated (IPCC, 2018). Risks rise rapidly based upon further warming, and some risks may reach high levels even if warming is limited to 2°C. Stabilizing global temperature requires decreasing net emissions of CO2 to zero. Because the warming effects of CO2 persist for thousands of years, every ton emitted pushes the temperature higher, and the resulting tempera- ture is a nearly linear function of cumulative CO2 emissions since the beginning of the industrial revolution (IPCC, 2013). The main lever one has for limiting warming is to constrain net emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). Dedicated efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere through natural or industrial processes can offset GHG emissions. These “negative emissions” strategies have the potential to be important parts of the climate solutions portfolio, and their development is advancing rapidly (Davis et al., 2018; IPCC, 2014a), but there remain many unanswered questions about capacity, cost, and unintended conse- quences (NASEM, 2019a). The challenge of decarbonization is also complicated by the long lifetimes and the high retirement costs of fossil infrastructure (Davis et al., 2010). Meanwhile global anthropogenic (human-caused) GHG emissions are continuing to increase. In 2019, global CO2 emissions were projected to reach an all-time high of ~37 19 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

R E F L E C T I N G S U N L I G H T : R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R S O L A R G E O E N G I N E E R I N G gigatons (GT) of CO2 from fossil sources and 6 GT from land-use change (GCP, 2020). Emissions of other GHGs add to the forcing of climate change, amplifying the warm- ing effect by about one-third over that of CO2 alone. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) analyses suggest that total allowable emissions cannot exceed 420 GT CO2 (post-2017) in order to have a substantial probability (66 percent chance) of stabilizing warming at 1.5°C or less. Based on 2019 emission rates, this emission total will be exceeded in less than a decade (IPCC, 2018). The emissions limit for stabi- lizing at 2°C is somewhat larger (allowing an additional 800 GT CO2); reaching either target requires rapid and sustained emissions reductions, on the order of halving emissions every decade (Rockström et al., 2017). Meeting the challenge of climate change requires a portfolio of options. This portfolio must involve reducing GHG emissions to the atmosphere (mitigation), and removing carbon from the atmosphere and reliably sequestering it. In addition, it must involve adaptation to climate change impacts that have already occurred or will occur in the future. But given the possibility that these three options will not be pursued swiftly or broadly enough to provide sufficient protection against unacceptable climate change impacts, some suggest there may be value in exploring additional response strate- gies—including possible strategies to moderate warming by altering the abundance or properties of small reflective particles (aerosols) or droplets in the atmosphere or by modifying cloud properties. In 2015, the National Academies released Climate Inter- vention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth (NRC, 2015), which reviewed the state of the science and provided high-level findings and recommendations on this set of possible strategies. Two of the main conceptual approaches for reflecting sunlight involve increasing the reflection of solar radiation away from Earth. Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) pro- poses to accomplish this through increasing the number of small reflective particles in the stratosphere. Marine cloud brightening (MCB) focuses on increasing the abun- dance or reflectivity of clouds over particular parts of the oceans. Cirrus cloud thin- ning (CCT), the third approach, aims to modify the properties of high-altitude clouds, increasing the atmosphere’s transparency to outgoing thermal radiation.1 The available research indicates that such approaches have the potential to reduce temperature and ameliorate some risks of climate change, but they also might intro- duce an array of potential risks. Such risks could be related to processes in the atmo- sphere (e.g., ozone loss from SAI); important aspects of regional climate (e.g., behavior of the Indian monsoon); or numerous environmental, ethical, social, political, and 1  While CCT is not truly a “reflecting sunlight” strategy like SAI and MCB, it is sufficiently related to these other methods that it was included in the study scope. 20 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

Introduction BOX 1.1 Terminology Considerations Apart from reducing GHG emissions, many other strategies for responding to climate change have been proposed, including mechanisms to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and mechanisms to alter Earth’s balance of shortwave and longwave radiationa—in particular to increase the amount of sunlight reflected away from Earth in order to lower global temperatures. The overall suite of approaches is often referred to as geoengineering. NRC (2015) recommended, however, that the term climate intervention be adopted in place of geoengineering, because the term geoengineer- ing has other meanings in the context of geological engineering and because (the report argues) “the term engineering implies a more precisely tailored and controllable process than might be the case for these climate interventions.” While climate intervention reasonably describes the full collection of possible climate response options, the focus of this study is on a particular subset of intervention strategies that involve modifying particle concentrations or cloud properties in the atmosphere—marine cloud bright- ening, stratospheric aerosol injection, and cirrus cloud thinning. NRC (2015) used the term albedo modificationb to describe strategies of this type, but that definition also encompassed mechanisms to increase sunlight reflection at Earth’s surface—strategies that are not considered in the current study. In light of the terminology used in the 2015 report, the current study committee considered the alternative solar climate intervention; however, some feel that this phrase might cause semantic confusion (e.g., by implying that the aim is to intervene in the climate of the sun). Solar geoengineering is commonly used by the scientific community, the media, and the public at large to describe methods designed to reflect sunlight back into space. As this terminology reasonably (albeit not perfectlyc) encompasses the strategies discussed in this report, this study committee has adopted this terminology (abbreviated herein as SG). We recognize, however, that other groups will use and suggest different labels (e.g., some publications use solar radiation management, and the IPCC has both used solar radiation modifi- cation and suggested referring only to the individual strategies and avoiding crosscutting labels [IPCC, 2012]). These terminology issues are worthy of ongoing consideration as they represent more than a semantic debate; in fact, terminology can affect public perceptions and opinions of the various response strategies proposed and can help frame the discourse moving forward. a Shortwave radiation refers to radiation of solar origin, which is primarily in the visible, ultraviolet, and near-infrared wavelengths. Longwave refers to radiation of terrestrial origin, which is typically in the infrared and longer wavelengths and is radiated by Earth, clouds, and the atmosphere. b NRC (2015) defined albedo modification as approaches that seek “to offset climate warming by greenhouse gases by increasing the amount of sunlight reflected back to space.” c Cirrus cloud thinning, for example, is designed to affect infrared radiation rather than solar radiation. economic factors that can interact in complex, potentially unknowable ways. The NRC (2015) study committee highlighted two potential risks in particular. First is the con- cern that with a heavy concentration of physical climate modeling research (relative to a focus on broader SG impacts), enthusiasm for SG deployment might get ahead of 21 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

R E F L E C T I N G S U N L I G H T : R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R S O L A R G E O E N G I N E E R I N G the research. Second is the concern that SG deployment might be inexpensive enough that it could potentially be undertaken by a single nation or other actor, thus pointing to needs for rapid detection and attribution methods. These different types of risks are highly diverse and likely to be perceived very dif- ferently across nations, communities, and individuals. Moreover, one does not (and, indeed, cannot) know the future climatic and sociopolitical conditions under which expanded SG research or potential deployment might be considered, and how the differing types of risks will be perceived by future decision makers and society at large. Very little research to date has attempted to address the full cascade of potentially interacting processes. 1.1 ORIGINS OF THIS STUDY NRC (2015) made six recommendations. Recommendation 1 discusses strategies that should be the core of the climate solutions portfolio—emissions reduction and adaptation. Recommendation 2 speaks to the importance of additional research and development on technologies for CO2 removal. Recommendation 3 states that albedo modification at scales sufficient to alter climate should not be deployed at this time. Recommendation 4 argues for a research program on albedo modification, point- ing to the potential for research targeted at advancing fundamental knowledge as well as evaluating potential applications. Recommendation 5 emphasizes the impor- tance of improving monitoring of the atmospheric radiation budget as a strategy for detecting secret deployments. Recommendation 6 points to the need for a serious deliberative process to explore and develop appropriate mechanisms for governing SG research. As a follow on to NRC (2015), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine launched the present study to develop a research agenda and recommend research governance approaches for SG intervention strategies, focusing on SAI, MCB, and CCT. The study was deliberately designed to address research needs and research governance in tandem, such that the understanding and thinking on each informs the other. This study considers transdisciplinary research2 that integrates understanding across factors such as the baseline chemistry, radiative balance, and other characteristics of the atmosphere; potential impacts (both positive and nega- 2  As described in Toomey et al. (2015), whereas multidisciplinary research draws on knowledge from different disciplines, and interdisciplinary research synthesizes and harmonizes links between disciplines, transdisciplinary work moves beyond this bridging of divides within academia to also engage directly with the production and use of knowledge outside of the academy. Societal impact is a central aim of the research. 22 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

Introduction tive) of SG interventions on the atmosphere, climate system, natural and managed ecosystems, and human systems; the technological feasibility of these interventions; detection and monitoring of such impacts; ethical implications and public percep- tions of SG research and possible deployment; and optimal strategies for governing such activities. The study explores and recommends appropriate research gover- nance mechanisms at international, national, and sub-national scales, as well as self- governance by the research community. It considers the research governance that already exists and lessons from research governance mechanisms currently being used or considered for other areas of scientific inquiry (see full Statement of Task in Appendix A). This report is intended for the broadest range of audiences interested in SG. The com- mittee’s focus was on research to support the information needs of those who may be involved in decisions about the scale, scope, direction, and organization of the SG research enterprise—including the appropriateness of certain kinds of studies, espe- cially field experiments. Ultimately, SG research should help support decisions about whether or not to include these strategies in the portfolio of climate responses and even to understand who should be involved in these decision-making processes. As decision-making priorities evolve over time, this points to the need for a research port- folio that is iterative and adaptive in nature. Some of the information most relevant for policy decisions in this space can contribute to increasing our understanding of basic functions of Earth and its atmosphere, ecosystems, oceans, and societies; however, advancing “basic knowledge” was not the primary driver for the current study. Funding for this study came from three very different types of entities. Reflecting its assessment of the importance of the topic, some funding came from the Arthur L. Day fund of the National Academy of Sciences. Four private foundations—the BAND Foundation, the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation—provided support. Three federal agencies also provided support for the study: the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1.2 SCOPE AND MOTIVATION OF THIS REPORT Available information is inadequate to provide the needed input to decisions about whether, when, and how SG should be included in the portfolio of climate response strategies, and a detailed agenda to define the relevant scientific research has thus far not been developed or implemented. A well-designed and well-governed research 23 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

R E F L E C T I N G S U N L I G H T : R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R S O L A R G E O E N G I N E E R I N G program could provide a great deal of critical information, but such a research pro- gram entails risks if its focus is too narrow, if stakeholders are not appropriately en- gaged, or if research decision making is not sufficiently transparent or inclusive. There are inherent limits to the questions that a research program can resolve for decision makers—including values-based questions about whether or not society should use SG as an option in the future, how to balance trade-offs in the potential impacts of SG, and how much uncertainty in outcomes is tolerable for decision makers or broader society—but research can provide useful insights that help inform these difficult questions. The components of an SG research program and the interactions among them de- pend upon the contexts (i.e., social, economic, cultural, technological, and ethical) in which the research unfolds. While some questions that must be addressed are purely technical (e.g., Could a particular technology, under ideal circumstances, change radia- tive forcing by some desired amount?), other questions involve complex interactions between physical and social dimensions (e.g., Is it possible to manage the risk of an unintended damaging change in regional rainfall?), or they involve ethical consider- ations (e.g., How should trade-offs be evaluated when SG might improve the welfare of many but erode the welfare of others?). Defining a research framework broadly perceived as fair, especially for stakeholders who lack political power or financial resources, is a major challenge. An important ele- ment to consider is the approach used for evaluating benefits and risks. For instance, one possible approach, a risk-risk framework, sets the objective of evaluating the ben- efits and risks of a given action in comparison to the benefits and risks of alternative actions, or compared to no action. An underlying challenge of such evaluations is the landscape of deep uncertainties surrounding climate change and SG. An SG research program can encompass elements as diverse as scenario develop- ment; modeling; laboratory studies; field studies; and socioeconomic, political, gover- nance, ethical, and public perception studies. Data sources will range widely—from stakeholder interviews, to laboratory experiments, to observations collected from satellites, aircraft, and ships. Of all the possible lines of research, field experiments with controlled dispersal of particles raise especially challenging issues. Some research- ers have proposed that small-scale field studies are already the logical next step to advance understanding; and a few research teams in the United States and elsewhere are moving forward with planning for field experiments. But there is scientific debate about whether small-scale field experiments can provide useful insights about large- scale deployment; the need for caution in pursuing such proposals has been raised by many. For instance, NRC (2015) recommended that field experiments designed to 24 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

Introduction inject material into the atmosphere should not proceed until key governance issues are addressed and appropriate structures are in place. Several nongovernmental orga- nizations (NGOs) are on record as being strongly opposed to field experiments, while others accept them under highly specified conditions. Other perspectives point to the importance of suitable public engagement to explore whether there is “social license” to proceed with field experiments. The committee’s recommendations are grounded in the conviction that in order to maximize scientific value and prospects for social acceptance, an SG research program needs to be highly interdisciplinary, open to broad participation, as transparent as possible, and structured to actively foster coordination and knowledge sharing across nations. Several existing reports and organizations address aspects of SG governance. For example, groups of scholars have proposed principles and best practice guidelines for operating norms. The Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative is focused on cata- lyzing policy discussions with governments and in international bodies to expand understanding of SG risks and benefits, and to prevent deployment of these technolo- gies without having effective governance in place. The Solar Radiation Management Governance Initiative is a partnership among several NGOs convening conversations about SG in countries around the world, with an emphasis on engaging develop- ing country researchers. Yet despite these many efforts, and progress being made in expanding the community of scholars, policy makers, and NGOs engaged in this topic, discussions are still mostly in the early stages, and no consensus has yet been reached about protocols for research governance. Governance of SG research will also need to deal with the opportunities and chal- lenges associated with engagement of the private sector. Private sector involvement in research and development can spur innovation, attract capital investment, and ac- celerate the development of effective and lower cost technologies. At the same time, however, there are concerns that for-profit efforts may neglect social, economic, and environmental risks, that research transparency will be compromised by data that are not open and accessible, and that some companies may develop financial interests in moving from research to deployment and seeking private ownership of globally relevant technologies. 1.3 SOLAR GEOENGINEERING IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR MITIGATION The starting position of the committee is that SG is not a substitute for mitigation, nor does it lessen the urgency for pursuing mitigation actions. Four main lines of evidence 25 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

R E F L E C T I N G S U N L I G H T : R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R S O L A R G E O E N G I N E E R I N G BOX 1.2 Context in 2020 During the period in which this report was developed and written, the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many conventional notions about the relationships between scientific knowledge and policy making, as well as about international cooperation to address major societal challenges. In many settings, the pandemic has vividly illustrated the value of forward-looking research, a strong capacity for science-based decision making, and careful attention to risk analysis. In other settings, responses to the pandemic have laid bare fractures at the science-policy interface, shined a spotlight on highly unequal impacts of policies on marginalized individuals and communities, and underscored challenges in international cooperation in a time of global crisis.When embraced, proactive efforts to build a foundation of scientific understanding and link it to decision making have strengthened resilience. In contrast, the selective marshaling of knowledge has strained the integration of science into policy and constrained the development of informed and equitable societal responses. Any discussion of SG technologies has both global and intergenerational aspects. Even“short- term”applications of SG technologies may require sustained interventions lasting a half-century or more, highlighting the importance of understanding issues related to the prospects for consistent governance, resilient institutions, and evidence-based decision making. Lessons from the pandemic might very well be salient for important elements of SG research and research governance. Research and research governance aim to reduce uncertainties about the risks and potential of SG, but they will not in and of themselves ensure that future social and geopolitical conditions will be conducive to the effective and equitable deployment of these technologies. This concern provides motivation for ensuring that discussion of SG research and research governance is grounded in caution and humility; pays close attention to changing social, political, economic, ecological, and institutional conditions; and appreciates the importance of diverse, equitable, and global cooperation. These elements were threaded throughout this report from the outset, and they became even more central as the committee concluded its work. underscore this position. The first is that SG does not address some of the key impacts of elevated CO2 concentrations, including impacts on ocean acidification (with ramifi- cations for the structure and function of ocean ecosystems) and impacts on terrestrial plants (altering growth rates, competitive interactions, and crop nutritional values). Second, there is abundant evidence that SG cannot restore the climate with high fidel- ity to any specific prior state but rather leads to outcomes that differ from prior states in terms of spatial and temporal temperature and precipitation patterns, as well as extreme events, which introduce a new set of challenges all their own. Third, SG may lead to a variety of unintended consequences and impacts. Fourth, offsetting a large amount of warming through SG (something that might be advocated in the absence 26 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

Introduction of stronger future mitigation) requires that the intervention be sustained for very long periods of time and entails unacceptable risks of catastrophically rapid warming if the intervention were ever terminated. This is a critical framing point for all discussion of SG research and research gover- nance, stemming from not only technical calculations but also considerations about social acceptability, ethics and justice, and the other social dimensions discussed in this report. No matter what the research concludes, climate change mitigation must be a central element of society’s future. The goal for research is to determine whether SG can be a complement to mitigation, not a substitute, and whether and under what conditions it could be part of the portfolio of climate response strategies. Conclusion [C1.1] Anthropogenic climate change is creating impacts that are widespread and severe—and in many cases irreversible—for individuals, communities, economies, and ecosystems around the world. Unless emissions of CO2 and other long-lived GHGs are driven to net zero, and emissions of short-lived GHGs are stabilized, risks from a changing climate will increase in the future, with potentially catastrophic consequences. There is real potential to rapidly decrease GHG emissions, but at present global-scale GHG emissions continue at very high levels. In light of these urgent and growing concerns, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the feasibility, risks, benefits, and unknowns—and consequences for diverse stakeholders—of the wide range of possible policy responses to climate change. Conclusion [C1.2] The most commonly considered responses to climate change include reducing GHG emissions, removing and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, and adapting to climate change impacts. SG could potentially offer an additional strategy for responding to climate change but is not a substitute for reducing GHG emissions. This is in part because SG • does not address the root cause of climate change and does not ad- dress all of the impacts of rising atmospheric CO2, especially ocean acidification; • raises concerns about new risks, uncertainties, and unintended im- pacts on natural ecosystems, agriculture, human health, and other critical areas of concern for society; 27 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

R E F L E C T I N G S U N L I G H T : R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R S O L A R G E O E N G I N E E R I N G • cannot provide a reliable means to restore global or regional climate to some desired prior state; and • entails unacceptable risk of catastrophically rapid warming if the intervention were ever terminated (if it were used to offset a large amount of warming). 1.4 THE STUDY PROCESS The study was developed and overseen jointly by the National Academies’ Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law. The members of the study committee had expertise in diverse areas such as atmospheric physics, chemistry, ecology, economics, policy studies, law, ethics, and international governance and negotiations. Several committee members have a long record of contributions to SG scholarship, while some were chosen to bring perspec- tives from other research domains. The committee held five in-person meetings, during which (as per National Acad- emies’ rules and procedures) all of the information-gathering sessions were open to the public, while internal deliberations and report writing were held in closed session. These included the following: • Meeting #1 (April/May 2019; Washington, DC) included presentations from leading researchers, overviews of existing efforts to explore SG governance, in- put from project sponsors regarding their motivation for requesting this study, and presentations from stakeholders representing civil society, governments, and NGOs. • Meeting #2 (August 2019; Boulder, CO) included a workshop to gather insights about the current state of SG research. Invited experts addressed the cur- rent status of modeling studies, observational studies, research on impacts across many sectors, and work on engineering development for relevant technologies. • Meeting #3 (September 2019; Stanford, CA) included a workshop on research governance issues. Invited experts discussed questions about ethics and scientific responsibility, engagement and representation, governing research for collective benefit, perspectives on existing frameworks for SG governance, and lessons learned from governance of research in other complex, ethically fraught fields (e.g., related to biotechnology). • Meeting #4 (October 2019; Washington, DC) and Meeting #5 (January 2020; Vancouver, BC, Canada) were closed to the public as the committee debated 28 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

Introduction key report messages and supporting arguments and collaborated to develop text for this report. The committee also held three virtual information-gathering sessions. One session focused on learning more about SG research activities being advanced in China and in Australia. Two other sessions were organized to seek insights from individuals who could offer “decision-maker” perspectives (based upon their experience as leaders in various national and international organizations) about the types of information they would need from the scientific community to help inform decisions related to SG research, research governance, and possible deployment. To aid these discussions, the committee developed a set of hypothetical scenarios about potential SG research and/or deployment for speaker consideration (see Appendix C). The committee also received a wide variety of written input from interested organi- zations and individuals, which was reviewed and discussed among the group. These information-gathering steps were followed by several months of work (carried out by calls, emails, and other virtual means among subgroups and the full committee) to finish deliberations and to facilitate the process of completing its report. Following standard National Academies’ procedures, the draft report then underwent a rigorous process of external peer review prior to publication. 1.5 THE REPORT ROADMAP The rest of the report is organized as follows: Chapter 2 reviews the “landscape” of SG-related research (i.e., the current state of un- derstanding and key knowledge gaps that need to be addressed—across both natural and social science realms), as well as the landscape of existing governance and legal structures that could be relevant to this research. Chapter 3 explores the complex “decision space” surrounding this issue, including the types of information needed by decision makers; the many societal considerations that shape research and research governance planning; and the principles for SG research that have been highlighted in past work. Chapter 4 presents the committee’s core recommendations for a national program of SG research and research governance, considering how such a program could be orga- nized, managed, and funded. Chapter 5 recommends key mechanisms to pursue, at national and international levels, for governance of SG research that help assure robust research oversight and 29 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

R E F L E C T I N G S U N L I G H T : R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R S O L A R G E O E N G I N E E R I N G regulation and adherence to critical goals such as legitimacy, transparency, and stake- holder engagement. Chapter 6 defines a broad transdisciplinary agenda for research to fill the key knowledge and information gaps identified in the earlier chapters and explores the special considerations related to outdoor experimentation. 30 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

Next: 2 Assessment of the Current Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance Landscape »
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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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