Developing countries must lead on solar geoengineering research
The nations that are most vulnerable to climate change must drive discussions of modelling, ethics and governance, argue A. Atiq Rahman, Paulo Artaxo, Asfawossen Asrat, Andy Parker and 8 co-signatories.
People in the global south are on the front line of climate change. As global temperatures creep upwards, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is forecasting rising seas eroding small island states, declining food production in many regions of Asia, water stress across Africa and major loss of biodiversity in South America. Despite having emitted very little greenhouse gas themselves, the world’s least-developed countries demanded that the 2015 Paris climate agreement require warming to be kept “well below” 2 °C. But there is a limit to what populations threatened by sea-level rise, biodiversity loss, droughts and hurricanes can do. Mitigation of climate change is crucial. In that context, solar geoengineering — injecting aerosol particles into the stratosphere to reflect away a little inbound sunlight — is being discussed as a way to cool the planet, fast. But it is too early to know what its effects would be. Developing countries must maintain their climate leadership and play a central part in research and discussions around solar geoengineering.
By A. Atiq Rahman, Paulo Artaxo, Asfawossen Asrat & Andy Parker