50 Shades of Solar Radiation Modification – towards a nuanced, interdisciplinary perspective on SRM research

Science for Sustainability

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In an era defined by growing environmental concerns and the pressing need for climate action, the topic of Solar Radiation Management (SRM) has emerged as a focal point of both hope and contention. This upcoming two-day workshop seeks to unite diverse researchers to foster constructive dialogue, challenge beliefs, find common ground, and forge a path forwards.

Solar Radiation Management (SRM) - also known as climate intervention or solar radiation modification - refers to large-scale interventions to cool the Earth by altering its radiative energy budget. Scientists’ and public opinions on SRM range from support for extensive research programmes and maybe even outdoor experimentation to opposition against even mentioning SRM in discussions and debates about the future of our planet.

Many of the voices expressing different opinions on SRM come from people who might be motivated by similar underlying concerns about the future of our planet, but disagree about whether SRM might help addressing these. Often unrecognised by ourselves, our education, values, assumptions, and scientific disciplines shape our thinking and sometimes impair our ability to enter a dialogue with one another, in order to develop truly sustainable and feasible solutions for the future.

This satellite picture shows the stratospheric sulphate aerosol layer injected by the Pinatubo eruption of 1991. Stratospheric Aerosol Injection would imitate this impact of volcanic eruptions to reflect about 1% of the incoming sunlight.

In this workshop we want to bring together (early to mid-career) researchers from different disciplines and with different outlooks on SRM, to challenge personal beliefs and ideas, to try to understand why we might reach different conclusions than our colleagues, what could change our minds, where we do agree, and how we can find common ground upon which to constructively build a way forward.

The workshop will last two half days, Dec. 7th 2023 (12:00-18:00) and Dec. 8th, 2023 (9:30-15:00).

On Day 1, we will chart the “opinion space” on SRM: Which commonly used arguments do we agree and disagree on? Which ones do we see as important? And why? 

On Day 2, we will discuss near-term measures governments should take to prevent SRM misuse and keep exploration of its possibilities safe and just. Can researchers with different background and opinion agree on a set of policies? 

We hope that the workshop will help building bridges across backgrounds and opinions and contribute towards building an interdisciplinary network of young SRM researchers. 

Webinar

The opening talks on Dec. 7th 13:30-15:00 will be publicly available as a webinar. The talks will serve as a brief introduction on the physics and politics of SRM. 

List of presentations:

  • The physics of SRM – Claudia Wieners
  • Economics of SRM – t.b.d.
  • Governance, politics and security aspects of SRM– t.b.d.
  • Ethics and SRM – Ben Hofbauer
Click here to register for the webinar

Organising Team

Claudia Wieners (UU, climate physics)
Jeroen Oomen (UU, political science)
Isabelle Steinke (TU Delft, climate physics) 
Ben Hofbauer (PIK, ethics) 
Iris de Vries (ETH Zürich, climate physics)

Start date and time
End date and time
Entrance fee
Free
Registration

Participation is by invite only. If you are interested in joining, please feel free to reach out to the organizer Claudia Wieners.