27 February 2023
Given the severity of climate change, scientists and scientific bodies have recommended research on potential approaches to increasing the reflection of sunlight (or release of long wave radiation) from the atmosphere, referred to as “solar radiation modification” (SRM), to slow climate warming and reduce climate impacts. In particular, this research is important for understanding their potential for responding to climate change rapidly, in order to reduce the dangers to people and ecosystems of the climate warming that is projected to occur over the next few decades while society reduces greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations in the atmosphere.
The following open letter is from more than 100 physical and biological scientists studying climate and climate impacts about the role of physical sciences research, including the central role it plays in effective governance. The letter affirms the importance of proceeding with responsible research to objectively evaluate the potential for SRM to reduce climate risks and impacts, to understand and minimize the risks of SRM approaches, and to identify the information required for governance. While not addressed in this letter, any decisions to actively use SRM would also need to be preceded by work to address the complex legal, ethical, and political aspects of making such a decision.
The letter is being shared openly to support consideration by, and dialogue among, stakeholders around the world.