Commentary | Published:

Solar geoengineering reduces atmospheric carbon burden

Nature Climate Change volume 7, pages 617619 (2017) | Download Citation

Solar geoengineering is no substitute for cutting emissions, but could nevertheless help reduce the atmospheric carbon burden. In the extreme, if solar geoengineering were used to hold radiative forcing constant under RCP8.5, the carbon burden may be reduced by 100 GTC, equivalent to 12–26% of twenty-first-century emissions at a cost of under US$0.5 per tCO2.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    National Research Council. Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth (National Academies Press, 2015).

  2. 2.

    If all else fails. The Economist (26 November 2015).

  3. 3.

    Bull. At. Sci. 64, 14–18 (2008).

  4. 4.

    , & Nat. Commun. 5, 3304 (2014).

  5. 5.

    , & J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci. 121, 2–27 (2016).

  6. 6.

    et al. Nature 520, 171–179 (2015).

  7. 7.

    , , , & Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 367, 105–115 (2013).

  8. 8.

    , , & Atmos. Chem. Phys. 16, 1479–1489 (2016).

  9. 9.

    National Research Council. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration (National Academies Press, 2015).

  10. 10.

    & Earth's Future 4, 549–559 (2016).

  11. 11.

    et al. J. Clim. 19, 3337–3353 (2006).

  12. 12.

    , & Glob. Biogeochem. Cycles 24, GB1002 (2010).

  13. 13.

    & Energy Policy 37, 507–521 (2009).

  14. 14.

    , , , & Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L18805 (2010).

  15. 15.

    , & Environ. Res. Lett. 7, 034019 (2012).

  16. 16.

    Our Changing Planet: the US Global Change Research Program for Fiscal Year 2017 (USGCRP, 2016).

  17. 17.

    et al. Climatic Change 109, 33 (2011).

  18. 18.

    et al. Earth's Future 4, 536–542 (2016).

  19. 19.

    & Earth's Future 5, 136–143 (2017).

  20. 20.

    et al. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L12606 (2009).

  21. 21.

    , & Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15, 11835–11859 (2015).

  22. 22.

    , , & Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 113, 14910–14914 (2016).

  23. 23.

    , & Geophys. Res. Lett. 42, 2951–2960 (2015).

  24. 24.

    , , & Geophys. Res. Lett. 43, 7600–7608 (2016).

  25. 25.

    et al. J. Clim. 26, 4398–4413 (2013).

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank K. Caldeira for discussion and feedback.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. David W. Keith and Gernot Wagner are at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 12 Oxford Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA, and Harvard Kennedy School, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • David W. Keith
    •  & Gernot Wagner
  2. Claire L. Zabel is at The Open Philanthropy Project, 182 Howard Street #225, San Francisco, California 94105, USA

    • Claire L. Zabel

Authors

  1. Search for David W. Keith in:

  2. Search for Gernot Wagner in:

  3. Search for Claire L. Zabel in:

Competing interests

C.L.Z. began work on this analysis while a researcher at Harvard. She now works for the Open Philanthropy Project, which subsequently became a funder of Harvard's Solar Geoengineering Research Project, co-directed by D.W.K. and G.W.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David W. Keith.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Solar geoengineering reduces atmospheric carbon burden

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3376

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing