Climate mitigation

An open dialogue on solar engineering

We agree with Clive Hamilton that the use of geoengineering to counter climate change is a complex and controversial topic (Nature 496, 139; 2013). This is precisely why it calls for wide-ranging, open, informed and objective discussion. This applies especially to research into solar radiation management (SRM) techniques, which may be quick, cheap, effective and risky.

That is why the SRM Governance Initiative ( was created: to ensure that any research undertaken is carefully considered, safe and transparent. It is a non-governmental organization convened by the Royal Society, the Environmental Defense Fund and TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world. It involves partner organizations from 16 countries, and has run meetings in Asia and Africa to seek the opinions of local members of the scientific community and others.

In the United States, the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington DC has issued a report (see recommending that any geoengineering research programme should be supported by research governance that incorporates transparent peer-review and public deliberation.

A growing community of scientists and stakeholders are already taking into consideration the serious implications of SRM technologies for governance, ethics and politics.

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Correspondence to John Shepherd.

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Shepherd, J., Abegaz, B. & Long, J. An open dialogue on solar engineering. Nature 497, 188 (2013).

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