Briefing Debunks Myths about Solar Geoengineering

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The Solar Geoengineering Non Use Agreement, an initiative signed by 400+ academics from over 50 countries recently released a briefing note (in English and Spanish) that debunks the ten most prevalent myths advanced by solar geoengineering lobbyists. This is a useful resource for those engaging with the development of solar geoengineering.

Put together by a team of scholars at the Solar Geoengineering Non Use Agreement, this briefing identifies misleading claims about solar geoengineering that often find their way into media reports and the public discourse.

The myths that they debunk are:

  1. “Solar geoengineering may be necessary to help those who are most vulnerable to climate change impacts.”
  2. “More research is needed to understand the risks of solar geoengineering to decide whether to advance the technology or not. Ignorance is never the answer.”
  3. “Investing in solar geoengineering research does not increase the likelihood of deployment.”
  4. “A global governance system can be designed to effectively manage solar geoengineering deployment.”
  5. “Expanding solar geoengineering research in the Global South will empower those most vulnerable to climate disruptions to decide about risks and benefits for themselves”
  6. “Solar geoengineering must be explored because of a likely climate ‘overshoot’, that is, that the world is likely to warm well above the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.”
  7. “Because the scientists advocating for solar geoengineering care about climate justice and climate mitigation, solar geoengineering deployment will be developed in a just and equitable way and not harm mitigation efforts.”
  8. “Opposition to solar geoengineering is speculative, while those advocating for solar geoengineering are evidence-based.”
  9. “The climate overshoot commission is a representative and legitimate intergovernmental organization exploring different climate mitigation options.”
  10. “Scientists in the Global North have a moral obligation to study solar geoengineering.”

Solar geoengineering refers to a set of hypothetical technologies that some scientists and lobbyists propose to explore as a technological solution for the climate crisis. The dominant approach being considered is to block some incoming sunlight by spraying significant quantities of aerosols into the stratosphere, which would require flying hundreds of specialized, high-altitude airplanes continuously around the planet. This proposed approach comes with huge ecological threats for the planetary system, massive humanitarian risks for vulnerable people, and fundamental geopolitical challenges.

Nevertheless, calls for expanding solar geoengineering research are growing louder from a small group of scientists, mostly from elite universities in the Global North. Many of these scientists are funded by technology and finance billionaires to try to mainstream the development of such technologies as part of future climate policy.

Global resistance to solar geoengineering is strong. Civil Society are encouraged to endorse the Solar Geoengineering Non Use Agreement here:

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