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Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance (2021)

Chapter: 4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach

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Suggested Citation:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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:"4 A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach." 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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CHAPTER FOUR A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach 4.1 INTRODUCTION S G research will almost certainly evolve along several tracks. The kind of individ- ual-investigator research that has been the foundation of most of the available information to date will continue. Increased interest in SG from philanthropies and individuals may lead to an increase in opportunities for building coordinated re- search programs and tackling diverse questions related to SG. The Harvard Solar Geo- engineering Research Program, the Marine Cloud Brightening Project at the University of Washington, and the Marine Cloud Brightening Project for the Great Barrier Reef based in Australia are examples of existing programs that, while still modest in scale, have grown to include several researchers representing a range of disciplines. As na- tional or international programs emerge, it will be important to recognize, build upon, and coordinate across efforts at every scale. Even in cases where lines of research are technically non-overlapping, participation in coordinated efforts can play a valuable role in building trust and transparency. Design of an effective, coordinated SG research program, however, raises many ques- tions that require careful consideration—for instance, should some kinds of research be funded through governmental sources and other research funded through non- governmental entities? Should the roles and responsibilities for research funding change as the scale of a research program passes particular thresholds of size and scope? Are there specific kinds of research that should be executed as coordinated, multi-investigator, multi-funder projects? How should the priorities for coordination evolve in response to political, social, economic, or climate dynamics? We approach the general topic of research design and coordination from the starting point of efforts based in the United States. This is a choice based on practical con- siderations. Operationally, research agencies of the U.S. federal government already have extensive experience supporting global change research and coordinating that research across agencies. Many, though certainly not all, features of SG research will 139 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 fit into the framework for existing global change research. The committee also con- sidered the role of philanthropies in supporting national or international SG research, which introduces both advantages and disadvantages. A central feature of a national SG research program and of U.S. input into international or other programs is that the goal of the program should be clearly and unequivocally to understand the prospects and limitations of SG options and not to drive toward eventual deployment. As discussed in more detail in Chapter 6, a national research program should be designed to explore the full range of issues relevant to possible future deployment. This should include not only issues related to technical feasibil- ity and efficacy but also issues related to indirect effects, social implications, human perceptions, and judgments about equity. If these technologies are ever seriously considered for deployment, the perceived legitimacy of the research program will be as important as the specific findings. Thus, a key challenge is to develop and coordi- nate a research program that is informing decisions without committing to further development of that technology or creating research communities that are invested in its ultimate deployment. The next chapter identifies specific governance mechanisms to foster norms among researchers. 4.2 GOALS AND ATTRIBUTES OF A SOLAR GEOENGINEERING RESEARCH PROGRAM The type of ongoing research and research governance framework that the commit- tee envisions is illustrated in Figure 4.1. This framework would enable research gover- nance and research activities to evolve hand-in-hand, with ongoing mechanisms for stakeholder engagement and input into both components. This engagement, com- bined with periodic programmatic assessments and revisions, could allow a research program to be responsive to new findings and developments that arise as the pro- gram and the knowledge base evolves. Business-as-usual pathways for establishing a research program may not suffice given the many complex features of SG that are discussed in earlier chapters (e.g., that the issue is value-laden, involves deep uncertainties, and is highly dependent on social and political context). Understanding of how to design a robust program that meets all the principles and goals recommended herein is in a nascent state; thus, a research program needs to be sufficiently flexible to allow for improvements and adjustments as our understanding grows. The committee offers suggestions for the rough contours of a research program but, at the same time, suggests that expanding engagement 140 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach Engagement CURRENT STATUS Initial Research ENGAGEMENT Program Governance • Dispersed, ad hoc efforts Design • Limited decision maker Exit Ramp or public understanding RESEARCH Assessment • Dispersed, ad hoc efforts and Program • Limited efforts to coordinate research Revision RESEARCH GOVERNANCE Knowledge • Dispersed, ad hoc efforts • Some potentially relevant national and international laws and regulations Exit Ramp Inform Decisions FIGURE 4.1 Schematic of SG research and research governance environment. with stakeholders around the world will be needed to help fill gaps in understanding and perspective and will be useful for the initial program design.  The SG research and research governance framework needs to be stepwise and itera- tive in nature. Reflexivity, learning, and adaptiveness are essential in an interlinked system, in which evolution in any one domain will have implications for future activity both within that domain and in other parts of the system (e.g., new knowledge about potential impacts may influence understanding of deployment options and gover- nance arrangements). The possibility of “exit ramps” together with periodic assessment and program revision (as illustrated in Figure 4.1) would build in opportunities to make adjustments as needed. This possibility of exit ramps helps address the general problem of research funding for a specific project or a larger program becoming locked into place and renewed year after year even in the absence of meaningful progress. This problem occurs be- cause expectations become set, among both the funded researchers and the funding agency, that can be difficult to overcome. In the context of SG research this dynamic can be particularly troubling. The goal of the research is not, fundamentally, to be a continuing investigation into some areas of science but rather to answer important questions about the feasibility, risks, and acceptability of different SG approaches. Thus, support should focus only on research that can provide information valuable (in the short term and mid-term) to those goals. Locking in of nonrelevant research in this 141 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 context could waste resources and might lead to the continuation of research on ap- proaches that have been rejected on social or political grounds. No perfect solution exists, but some approaches can make it easier to terminate projects that are no longer worthwhile. One approach is to include fixed terms to the projects with pre-set milestones that must be met to justify continuation. A second approach is to mitigate the reliance interests of the researchers by providing a warn- ing period—for example, a warning that funding will end in 1 year unless some objec- tives are reached. A third option might be to demand discontinuance of some exist- ing projects every year, forcing the funding authority to make choices among their existing inventory. Any of these methods, of course, should be announced in advance to the funding applicants and each would require disciplined review, preferably by a body that is overseeing more than one kind of research and so is positioned to make choices about more and less promising approaches. A socially robust research and research governance environment should be inte- grative, as illustrated by the braided circle in Figure 4.1. The program will need to integrate insights across numerous disciplines, as diverse as climate dynamics, atmo- spheric physics and chemistry, terrestrial and oceanic ecology, agronomy, medicine, political science, sociology, law, philosophy, and engineering. This will be necessary for holistic assessments and to design possible solutions, with collaborators working to- ward a shared set of objectives along a common timeline. Research activities will also need to stretch across a lengthy “chain of inquiry.” Pursuing ad hoc, isolated studies as is presently the case is not an effective pathway for rapidly advancing understanding. Likewise, public engagement and transparency are mainstays of socially robust re- search and will be critical for the success of a research program. Diversity is needed in terms of the sites of production of knowledge and the expertise assembled to engage in research. A program will be most effective if it is ambitiously inclusive and systemati- cally incorporates a diversity of stakeholder and disciplinary perspectives, especially those that are typically marginalized. The committee thus envisions public engagement being woven into both SG research and research governance, as shown in Figure 4.1. It will be important to establish and utilize mechanisms for stakeholder input and decision-maker needs, beginning with the stage of program design. One way of ensur- ing that the program as a whole is responsive to decision-maker needs is to establish mechanisms to assess those needs and incentivize program leaders to take those needs into account. Relevant mechanisms could include convening a stakeholder advisory committee, conducting research on needs, or requiring co-production as a research approach for some portion of projects. Similarly, a program will need to be nimble and be able to adjust priorities as they emerge from both research findings and decision-maker needs. 142 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach BOX 4.1 Building Legitimacy in Knowledge Production Social science research has highlighted that the production of knowledge cannot be de- coupled from, and in fact is increasingly shaped by, the context in which it is produced, and this realization has important implications for the design of an SG research program. The following are some relevant insights in the literature about the challenge of ensuring a research program is effective and legitimate. • Gibbons (1994) defines two different modes of production of knowledge: Mode 1, where problems are set and solved in a context governed by the academic interests of a specific community; and Mode 2, where knowledge is produced in a context of application, a diversity of sites, and a broader set of communities. The evolving relationship between science and society has increased the need for context-sensitive science that aligns more with Mode 2, to ensure that knowledge production is seen by society to be both transparent and participative (Gibbons, 1999; Nowotny et al., 2001). When knowledge is produced according to Mode 2, scientific ideas and beliefs are embedded in and evolve together with representations, social identities, discourses, and institutions. In effect, science and social order are co-produced (Jasanoff, 2004). • When knowledge is produced in the context of a specific application, where “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high, and decisions urgent,” knowledge generation and verification must occur through “extended peer communities” (Ravetz, 1990). • Differences in framing of an issue may lead to policy controversies, especially in complex contexts involving multiple perspectives. Thus, engaging in careful reflection on framing could help improve the effectiveness of policy solutions (Schön and Reid, 1994). • Nowotny (2003) suggests that ensuring that the design of an SG research program is “so- cially robust” entails three closely interrelated aspects: (i) Robustness is tested for validity, not only inside the laboratory. (ii) Social robustness is most likely to be achieved through involving an extended group of experts, real or symbolic users, and real or “imagined” lay persons. (iii) Since society is no longer only a “recipient” of science but an active partner participating in the production of social knowledge, the robustness of such knowledge results from having been repeatedly tested, expanded, and modified. • Jasanoff (2003) suggests a related framework with four focal points (framing, vulnerability, distribution, and learning) that bring into focus questions such as “what is the purpose? who will be hurt? who benefits? and how can we know?” Such a framework requires attention to both substance and process and stresses deliberation as well as analysis. Interactions and learning across various operational elements are critical for a success- ful SG research program. Specifically, coordination is essential for integrating per- spectives from research, from those involved in supporting and guiding this research enterprise, and from those exploring governance strategies for any potential future deployment. An SG research program could employ numerous mechanisms to effec- 143 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 tively coordinate research efforts among multidisciplinary investigators. While most research will likely advance through individual and group projects, there are numer- ous coordinating mechanisms—such as community-driven science plans, town hall meetings at scientific organization conferences, scientific steering groups, interagency program manager groups, joint requests for proposals, and annual principal investi- gator meetings—that could be employed to ensure that these individual efforts are coordinated and organized to communicate as research is planned and executed and that highest priority efforts are supported. Finally, the SG research program should award funding in a manner that encourages creative thinking while avoiding commitments to further development of a specific technology or to the creation of research communities that are invested in its ultimate deployment. Awarding funding through a competitive process ensures that diverse researchers are able to apply for funding, and competition among research teams also ensures that the best ideas are generated and tested. Funding for SG research from for-profit organizations raises special concerns. If any such organizations have taken successful research steps toward deployable SG tech- nologies, they will likely have a financial interest in seeing actual deployment advance. For an issue as controversial and complex as this one, that kind of thumb-on-the-scale should be avoided if possible. One might try to discourage or even prohibit for-profit research (as has been done for other issues in some circumstances, such as with regard to nuclear weapons). But for SG research, some work might be best carried out by for- profit firms. For example, companies that build aircraft may be better placed than gov- ernment or university researchers to assess the possibilities of high-altitude transport aircraft. Similarly, firms that build spraying nozzles may be better able to find improve- ments to them. Of course, even in the cases in which for-profit entities are best suited for carrying out the research, government agencies may still be the primary source of funding. Some small-scale research on the technology needed for deployment is appropriate only to the extent that it is necessary either to assess basic feasibility or to support other key research needs (e.g., for small-scale experiments, or to understand boundaries of feasibility such as achievable altitudes for stratospheric aerosol injection [SAI]). Research aimed solely at developing the technology needed for deployment should be discour- aged (whether funded by governments, foundations, or private firms) until decisions on deployment have been made. We recognize that it may be difficult in some cases to draw the line between feasibility-oriented research and deployment-related research. The best protection is likely to be a robust decision-making process for deployment that can minimize any inappropriate influence stemming from potential profits. 144 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach Recommendation 4.1 The United States should implement a robust portfolio of climate mitigation and adaptation. In addition, given the urgency of climate change concerns and the need for a full understanding of possible response options, the U.S. federal government should establish—in coordination with other countries—a transdisciplinary, SG research program. This program should be a minor part of the overall U.S. research program related to responding to climate change. The program should focus on developing policy-relevant knowledge, rather than advancing a path for deployment, and the program should be subject to robust governance. The program should • advance knowledge relevant to decision making, including design of future research efforts; • ensure transparency, disciplinary balance, and public and stakeholder engagement; • coordinate research across federal agencies and with research outside the U.S. federal government; and • limit research on technology with direct applicability for deployment to early-phase, fundamental research. The program should, from the outset, prioritize development of international coordination and co-development of research with other countries, in line with the governance recommendations in Chapter 5 (especially Recommendations 5.1q, 5.1r, and 5.1s).a The program should establish robust mechanisms for inputs from civil society and other key stakeholders in the design of the research program, as well as promote their engagement in relevant program components. Key stakeholders include climate-vulnerable communities and underrepresented groups, including from indigenous populations and the Global South. The program and its outcomes should be regularly reviewed and assessed by a diverse, inclusive panel of experts and stakeholders (including consultation with international counterparts) to determine whether continued research is justified and, if so, how goals and priorities should be updated. “Exit ramps” (i.e., criteria and protocols for terminating research programs or areas) should be an explicit part of the program, with mechanisms to terminate a research activity, for example, if it is deemed 145 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 to pose unacceptable physical, social, geopolitical, or environmental risks or if research indicates clearly that a particular SG technique is not likely to work. a  This refers to the committee recommendations on (q) promotion of international cooperation and co- development on research teams, (r) promotion of international cooperation among national scientific agencies, and (s) voluntary coordination and cooperation by countries and non-state actors. 4.3 CAPACITY NEEDED TO ADVANCE SOLAR GEOENGINEERING RESEARCH AND RESEARCH GOVERNANCE SG requires new knowledge in understanding both the physical phenomena relat- ing to SG interventions and the potential ecological, economic, social, political, and human implications of such interventions. But these implications necessarily will vary across space and time and are context-dependent. Therefore, research capacity to understand the nature of these impacts in any specific location has to be cognizant of local context and draw upon local knowledge. This will require multiple kinds of ex- pertise such as modeling and experimental natural science (e.g., atmospheric science and ecological sciences), social science, and the ability to engage in transdisciplinary research that brings to bear multiple disciplines on identifying the issues of local relevance and then engaging in the production of knowledge to address these issues. Furthermore, given the complexity of these endeavors, even the understanding of how to effectively govern and guide such research might be inadequate and therefore itself a subject of research. Lastly, there is a range of questions pertaining to the gov- ernance of SG interventions—for example, under what conditions and under whose oversight might a specific SG intervention be initiated and terminated, and how do these governance systems fit and interact with broader climate governance systems? Exploration of various options and their appropriateness in both a transnational and local context requires yet other forms of research capacity that draw on the humani- ties and social sciences as well as practical knowledge of the state and dynamics of the global climate policy domain. The capacity to suitably govern SG research will require an understanding of the nature, needs, and concerns relating to this research such that it can be enabled and supported in a manner consonant with societal perspectives and objectives, while being mindful of, and minimizing, the risks that may result from such research. This will require close engagement with the research community as well as relevant stakehold- ers, while also being cognizant of approaches in other issue domains as well national contexts. The governance of deployment, on the other hand, probably would require some form of international engagement, given the transboundary nature of interven- 146 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach tions and capabilities to jointly determine approaches and pathways that reflect both national priorities and the international landscape. The transdisciplinary nature of SG, its linkage to other issue domains, and the wide breadth of stakeholders whose perspectives are of relevance necessitate a high level of coordination capacity to draw together different forms of expertise and knowledge to inform, shape, guide, and engage in research. Similarly, some aspects of the research governance will require coordination among relevant experts, stakeholders, and policy makers within and beyond national boundaries. Such capacity may particularly be in short supply in developing countries where policy makers and other actors are overstretched. It is likely that much natural and social science research capacity will reside in aca- demic and other research institutions (including government research laboratories). In some cases, international research actors (e.g., International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and The World Academy of Sciences) may play a key role in under- taking or facilitating research, especially in cases in which individual countries do not have appropriate research institutions. A well-informed and active civil society can play a key role in bringing to bear a variety of perspectives into these efforts as well as helping ensure that marginalized groups also have a voice in the process. Govern- ment agencies will also necessarily play a key role in the funding and oversight of SG research efforts, but given the unusually complex nature of this issue and the need for transdisciplinary, sociotechnical, “Mode 2” science, these agencies may also need to develop the capacity to support and govern this research enterprise in an appropriate fashion. On the other end, engaging with SG governance will require an altogether differ- ent kind of capacity that requires drawing upon and marshaling the full breadth of scientific and societal resources. Since interactions between different communities— such as between natural and social scientists, between researchers and policy makers, and between researchers and citizens—will play an important role in an effective SG enterprise, boundary organizations that can mediate communication across these interfaces are likely to play an important role in facilitating these interactions (McNie, 2007). Examples of such boundary organizations include the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), professional societies, and civil society groups. Networks may be seen as another form of capacity, which is characterized by flow of knowledge across community boundaries, thereby enabling transdisciplinarity. Some forms of networks may self-organize, as in the case of collaborating researchers, but in many cases the development and sustainment of networks may require efforts targeted spe- cifically toward this end (Dilling et al., 2015). 147 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 Public funding can play a central role in developing local capacity that might be needed in order to support the kinds of activities (e.g., natural and social science research, boundary work, and knowledge network development) that might be required for any particular form of SG research enterprise—and indeed even a systematic exploration of the kind of research enterprise that might be societally desirable. While private funding such as from philanthropic organizations has been and can continue to play a role in supporting such work, it is not accountable to the public in the same way as a public agency and therefore cannot be seen as a substitute for public support. On the other hand, some coordination between public and private efforts may be useful in enhancing the efficiency of capacity development. International support may be particularly useful for the development of local capac- ity in countries that have limited public funding to support SG research. This issue will require thoughtful engagement, though, both in terms of understanding what kinds of capacities are particularly needed in that context and how to develop such capac- BOX 4.2 Why Start a Research Program Now? Over the past several years, the world has seen continuing improvements in the scientific under- standing of the why and how of anthropogenic climate change, a growing appreciation of the seri- ousness of the impacts of warming, and the widespread realization that we are experiencing serious, rapidly increasing damages from the warming that has already occurred. At the same time, progress in addressing the core causes of climate change through decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removing CO2 from the atmosphere has been limited and has failed to turn the tide on the long- term trend of rising GHG emissions. In many ways, the substantial drop in global CO2 emissions seen in 2020 (related to the COVID-19 pandemic) reveals the essence of the challenge—economic activity and CO2 emissions are still strongly linked and tend to rise and fall in lockstep. Ultimately, solving the climate crisis will involve breaking that link. The world has had scientific warnings about the risks of climate change for decades.   From 1990 (when the first IPCC report was issued) to 2019, CO2 emissions increased by 65 percent and the global average temperature increased by about 0.5°C. The need and potential for accelerating decarbonization is high (NASEM, 2021). But even rapidly accelerated decarbonization may not be sufficient, and further delay in understanding the options imposes real and growing constraints on the nature,cost,and ambition of possible responses. In considering next steps, it is critical to have the clearest possible picture of the full suite of options, including their technical feasibility, social context, possible risks, benefits, and costs. At this time, understanding of SG is nascent. We lack the knowledge to make even preliminary recommendations about whether the technology should have a place in the portfolio of options 148 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach ity, especially given limited success in capacity development efforts more generally. Support for international collaboration and coordination may also be particularly helpful. 4.4 FEDERAL AGENCY PARTICIPATION AND COORDINATION SG research and research governance efforts to date have been ad hoc and dispersed (as discussed in Chapter 2). Most research has been carried out by individual investi- gators and teams under non-targeted sources of funding. Even the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (Kravitz et al., 2011), an internationally coordinated project designated by a working group of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), is conducted on a voluntary basis by individual modeling centers, with no dedicated sources of funding. As with other Earth-science interdisciplinary programs, there would be significant value added by coordinating across modeling, observa- tions, process studies, social and economic studies, scenario designs, and beyond—to considered for future deployment. This report takes no position on that, since current knowledge is too incomplete to support any recommendation. But the committee believes that a well-designed research program can help provide the information needed to support balanced decisions about next steps and future prospects. Results from an SG research program might support the idea that deployment could be effective, affordable, safe, and publicly acceptable—but they might also reveal that such deployment would be ineffective, too costly, or would raise unacceptable technical or social risks. Without the research, there is no way to know. Without the research, we could be missing the opportunity to decrease unacceptable damages of climate change, or we could be wasting time and energy on concepts destined to go nowhere. Some of the arguments against an SG research program involve concerns that even early-stage research might build constituencies and institutions that intrinsically point toward or away from deploy- ment. But the holistic and inclusive research program proposed by the committee balances these path dependencies so that all options remain open, until there is sufficient knowledge for evidence-based decisions. Indeed, one motivation for starting an SG research program now is to help grow the com- munity with relevant expertise, especially in areas where research to date, interdisciplinary integration, and public engagement have been limited. SG is controversial. Strong positions abound, with voices from different parts of the spectrum emphasizing different aspects, perspectives, and audiences. In this complicated space, a well-designed, broad-based research program, with technical, social, and ethical elements, can play a central role in building the transparency and trust that are foundational for wide support of evidence-based deci- sions. And in an era when the pace of climate change is closing options, moving forward now with an SG research program can keep as many options open as possible. 149 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 help ensure that the research conducted informs (and is informed by) other research as efficiently as possible. The United States does not currently have a coordinated federal SG research program, nor a coordinated approach for creating such a federal program. Several federal sci- ence agencies support global change research activities that advance observational science; climate analysis; detection and attribution research; and the development, evaluation, and application of Earth system models (see Table 4.1). Each agency has different technological and scientific strengths and different missions and cultures, but they could all provide valuable contributions to an SG research program. In fact, a significant fraction of the existing federal climate research enterprise could help advance understanding of SG approaches and impacts. This includes, for instance, ongoing federal research on atmospheric circulation and aerosol/cloud interactions, which is directly relevant for understanding the potential effectiveness and impacts of both SAI and MCB. TABLE 4.1 Budget Crosscut for Funds Self-Identified by Agencies as Their Contributions to USGCRP Research Activities. Funding amounts are shown in millions of dollars. Agency FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 President’s Enacted ($M) Enacted ($M) Budget ($M) Department of Agriculture (USDA) 103 101 96 Department of Commerce (DOC) 320 293 194 Department of Energy (DOE) 239 259 117 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 10 11 10 Department of the Interior (DOI) 25 25 13 Department of Transportation (DOT) 0 0 0 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 18 19 0 National Aeronautics and Space Administration 1,499 1,484 1,286 (NASA) National Science Foundation (NSF) 254 237 219 Smithsonian Institute (SI) 8 8 8 Total (USGCRP) 2,477 2,436 1,943 SOURCE: USGCRP (2020). 150 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach The U.S. federal agencies with climate-related research programs1 most relevant to SG research include the following: • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), with a focus on the troposphere and Earth system modeling and a long history of ground-based atmospheric radia- tive measurements. DOE is also home to most of the R&D related to energy technologies and carbon capture and storage. • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with weather, climate, atmospheric composition and chemistry, and oceanic observation and prediction responsibilities for the nation. • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with stratospheric platforms, Earth system observations from satellite platforms and airborne facilities, and modeling of climate and atmospheric composition. • The National Science Foundation (NSF), in fostering investigator-driven re- search across many disciplines, including human-dimensions aspects, as well as focused efforts at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with expertise in mission programs. • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Geological Survey, for impacts research related to agri- culture, forests, freshwater systems, and other ecosystems. • The National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and EPA, for research related to impacts on human health. Agencies such as DOE, NOAA, and NASA have considerable experience with mission- driven atmospheric monitoring (including aerosol research) and broader integrated assessment modeling. And several individuals within the national laboratories (e.g., DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Labo- ratory, and NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratories) are carrying out SG-focused research. NCAR is home to a “Community Climate Intervention Strategies” project2 that coordinates webinars and workshops and has numerous scientists actively publishing SG-related research. None of the federal agencies, however, have resources or person- nel dedicated specifically to working on SG issues, are positioned to launch a mission- 1  The Office of Naval Research has conducted research on the marine atmosphere in the past, includ- ing the 1994 Monterey Area Ship Tracks Experiment. Whether capacity will be available for future research is an open question. 2  See https://www.ccis.ucar.edu/. 151 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 driven research program, or have a mandate to respond to policy makers or provide input to SG-related international assessments. Moreover, because there is no coordi- nated federal strategy for SG research activities (or even guidance defining what “SG research activities” encompass), it is challenging to identify and track federal funding related to this topic. The small percentage of climate/global change funding focused on human dimen- sions research has been identified as a long-standing concern in numerous National Academies reports (e.g., NRC, 2004, 2009, 2012). Some agencies have made modest investments in human dimensions research; for example, NSF’s Social, Behavioral and Economics division supports some fundamental research; NOAA, EPA, and DOE support some human dimensions research related to their decision-making needs. However, this is a tiny fraction of the federal investment in physical and natural science research relevant to climate change. Furthermore, federal agencies do not have a clear home for program-directed human dimensions research, resulting in a lack of relevant capacity, resources, and leadership within research coordination efforts. The limited in- vestment in human dimensions research makes it challenging to address some of the questions of greatest relevance for SG research, in which public perception and social attitudes are likely to play an important role in future decisions. An effective, transdisciplinary research program will require coordination across mul- tiple agencies, national laboratories and cooperative institutes, and academic insti- tutions. While the focus of this study is on a U.S. (national) research program, strong international engagement and open international collaboration will promote the strongest scientific and global policy outcomes. Interagency Coordination The importance of cross-agency coordination was emphasized in a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report about design of a federal geoengineering research program (GAO, 2010). This report noted that some key practices for enhancing col- laboration across agencies include establishing a commonly accepted operational definition for relevant activities; emphasizing the importance of leveraging existing resources to support common outcomes and address identified needs; developing mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on results; comprehensively assessing the costs, benefits, and risks of each technological option; and identifying potential overlap among proposed and existing programs. The report suggests that without co- ordinated efforts to identify relevant research and share information across agencies, 152 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach policy makers and agency officials may lack key information needed to inform their decisions on SG research. The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established in 1990 under the U.S. Global Change Research Act to coordinate the efforts of federal agencies to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human- induced and natural processes of global change” (P.L. 101-606). Today the program encompasses 13 agencies (those listed in Table 4.1 plus the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Agency for International Development). USGCRP is under the purview of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). As such, it is the principal mechanism within the Executive Branch to coordinate global change re- search across the diverse entities that make up the federal research and development enterprise. USGCRP is the most logical entity for orchestrating coordination of SG research at the federal level, as part of its larger mandate to manage climate change-related research more broadly. USGCRP has for more than three decades helped coordinate climate research across federal agencies. Coordination mechanisms used by USGCRP include developing strategic plans, organizing monthly meetings of agency representatives, and establishing interagency working groups that focus on specific program priorities. A recent National Academies’ review of USGCRP’s accomplishments (NASEM, 2017) noted that the Adaptation Working Group and the Climate Change and Human Health Working Group made important contributions to the third National Climate Assess- ment, and the Carbon Cycle Working Group has facilitated significant progress across multiple agencies. Despite its successes, the ability of USGCRP to coordinate across participating agen- cies has at times been hindered by the program’s inability to directly control relevant agency budgets or to shift funding to emerging research areas, by the lack of strong leadership, and by insufficient support for coordinating mechanisms (NASEM, 2016; NRC, 2004). Successful management of the national SG research program recom- mended herein will require a concerted effort by USGCRP, with strong support from NSTC and OSTP, to address these limitations. Another limitation that must be addressed is that the scope of research currently supported by USGCRP agencies does not match the full breadth of research needs identified in this report. As discussed above, a particular concern is the relatively small investment in human dimensions research, which can be attributed in part to the lack of a strong agency home for such research and the inability of USGCRP to influence 153 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 agency investments to address these gaps. On the physical science side, USGCRP does not have a strong history of supporting some issues that are critical to SG, such as stratospheric research. International Engagement A second report on climate engineering from GAO (2011) addressed the importance of international collaboration. The report highlighted the value of U.S. efforts to spon- sor (or at least encourage) joint research with other nations (including developing/ emerging industrial nations); to facilitate rigorous and transparent evaluation of new technologies developed by others; to foster cooperation and norms for conducting research; and to study how deployment of SG technologies could impinge on geopo- litical equity, human rights, and justice. GAO (2011) also suggested research on how to define climate emergencies and achieve international agreement on response strategies as well as exploration of issues concerning military engagement in climate engineering research. USGCRP has a long history of facilitating international research coordination (as de- scribed on its website3) and this experience could be leveraged for a national SG re- search program. Much of USGCRP’s current international coordination work focuses on WCRP and Future Earth. For example, the WCRP Climate and Ocean—Variability, Predict- ability, and Change (CLIVAR) project seeks to understand the dynamics, the interaction, and the predictability of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system. To enhance integration of relevant research priorities at international, national, and individual agency levels, the U.S. CLIVAR office is co-located with the USGCRP National Coordination Office. Public Engagement The 2011 GAO report also discussed how effective engagement can foster shared learning across national leadership, the general public, and the research community; help ensure transparency; build shared norms; help frame research agendas to reflect the concerns and needs of the public and decision makers; and bring an informed, democratic process to decisions that broadly affect society. USGCRP and its partici- pating agencies have experience with various types of stakeholder engagement processes that could provide a foundation for the efforts needed in an SG research 3  See https://www.globalchange.gov/what-we-do/coordinate-internationally. 154 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach program. Examples include the engagement activities undertaken by USGCRP as part of the National Climate Assessments (in particular the development of NCAnet,4 an ongoing effort to engage producers and users of assessment information across the United States), as well as centers established by individual agencies to support climate-related decision making (e.g., the NOAA Regional Integrated Science and As- sessment centers, USDA Climate Hubs, and the U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers). While this experience provides a valuable foundation, the SG re- search program described herein will require additional mechanisms for engagement with civil society and other stakeholders, with particular attention given to climate- vulnerable communities and underrepresented groups including from indigenous populations and the Global South. While USGCRP itself is not likely well suited to lead international engagement processes, it can help assure that the United States actively supports and participates in efforts led by appropriate international organizations. Recommendation 4.2 The U.S. Global Change Research Program should be tasked to provide coordination and transparent oversight of the research program, addressing roles including but not limited to the following: • Guiding the development and coordination of complementary research activities across the relevant federal agencies and advancing the research elements that are best aligned with each agency’s mission and capabilities; • Integrating existing agency assets, coordinating and tracking budget allocations, and harmonizing future budget requests; • Overseeing coordinated research solicitations that foster interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledge, relationships, and solutions, across all relevant disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences; • Maintaining an active database of all SG research activities, in particular activities related to outdoor experimentation, and ensuring that this information is made publicly available; • Ensuring rigorous peer review of all research proposed under the program; 4  See http://ncanet.usgcrp.gov/. 155 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 • Periodically assessing progress and refining program goals and research priorities; • Ensuring that all of the results from (and data sources developed through) federally supported research are publicly available, preferably at zero cost; • Advancing opportunities for meaningful public engagement within and beyond the United States and pathways for this engagement to help inform and shape the research program; • Connecting to and coordinating with relevant SG programs and activities outside the U.S. federal government; and • Ensuring systematic support for the full range of research topics that are critical for advancing understanding of SG (see Chapter 6). 4.5 ROLES FOR PHILANTHROPIC SUPPORT At present, more than two-thirds of SG funding in the United States is coming from private sources, including from foundations and individuals (see Table 4.2). This fund- ing has supported some research efforts, as well as efforts to explore governance of research. Support from philanthropic sources may be particularly valuable for advanc- ing research and research governance activities that pose a difficult fit for traditional government funding. For instance, efforts related to international capacity building do not align easily with the mission or scope of existing federal agency programs and thus could be bolstered by alternative means of support. Yet, there are many concerns about private philanthropy funding SG research. Private sector funding lacks the level of accountability to the broader public typically associ- ated with governmental support. These concerns are especially acute when it comes to private support for outdoor experiments. Other concerns relate to the ethical and TABLE 4.2 Approximate Funding Amounts for SG Research and Governance-related Efforts, by Location and Funding Type between 2008 and 2018 Location Government Funding Private Funding Mixed Funding North America $7,180,000 $18,090,000 $910,000 Europe $20,350,000 $1,380,000 $0 Asia $3,840,000 $300,000 $0 Other $0 $150,000 $0 SOURCE: Necheles et al. (2018). 156 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

A Solar Geoengineering Research Program: Goals and Approach other implications of potentially having a small number of wealthy individuals and philanthropies setting research and policy agendas, and shaping the overall path forward, for the SG enterprise. It is possible that research and research governance activities supported by philan- thropy could be subject to the type of governance framework outlined in Chapter 5 (e.g., by mechanisms such as public registries of research, review and assessment efforts, and advisory committee oversight), although many questions remain regard- ing the degree to which these mechanisms would apply and be effective. The “code of conduct” recommendations in particular could provide a valuable basis for guiding the efforts of both governmental- and nongovernmental-funded research alike; in fact, prior to the creation of a coordinated government program, it may be private philan- thropies that first socialize and require adherence to a code of conduct from those re- searchers that they support. Even in the absence of any legal or regulatory constraints, societal pressure may help motivate privately funded activities to adhere to common standards for transparency, public engagement, safety precautions, etc.—especially if there is public backlash in the face of activities that fail to adhere to such standards. As a general approach, philanthropic support for SG research and research gover- nance (and related activities such as capacity building and engagement) should complement rather than replace core U.S. federal support for these activities. This complementary support may be particularly useful for helping address priority areas identified by other nations and nongovernmental organizations in the Global South with independently developing research programs and interests as well as for rapidly advancing the near-term work needed to help inform research program design efforts (given that philanthropies can often make grants much more quickly than federal agencies). Providing budget estimates for engagement and capacity building efforts is challeng- ing, in part because such activities could be scaled to almost any size and ambition that one seeks—ranging from a few thousand dollars for modest individual events to tens of millions for ongoing globally comprehensive processes. Consistent with our earlier calls for assuring a primary focus on climate change mitigation, we suggest that philanthropic support for SG should remain a small fraction of the support provided for mitigation efforts. As a point of reference, the latter totaled $1.6–1.8 billion in 2019 (ClimateWorks Foundation, 2020). 157 PREPUBLICATION COPY—Uncorrected Proofs

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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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