Climate Engineering: Buying time to contain global warming?
German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) within the framework of the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research
Radical de-carbonization can still allow containing atmospheric GHG levels to a degree that may allow keeping global warming to less than +2°C above pre-industrial times, perhaps even below +1.5°C. A growing number of researchers, however, see a clear risk that GHG emissions may not be reduced at the required speed. Climate engineering and geo engineering are discussed as a possibly necessary complement to deep de-carbonization. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) techniques may remove CO2 from the atmosphere; Solar Radiation Management (SRM) techniques reflect a small percentage of the sun’s light and heat back into space.
A study published by the Royal Society in 2009 recommended that priority should clearly be given to increased efforts to reduction of GHG emissions, but that at the same time “Further research and development of geoengineering options should be undertaken to investigate whether low risk methods can be made available if it becomes necessary to reduce the rate of warming this century.”
Considering the lead-time to reach a point, when geo-engineering techniques might be applied on a large-scale without running into unpredictable risks: Should R&D efforts be scaled-up now, and how could this be done on multilateral scale?
- Ulrike Niemeier (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg)
- Frederike Neuber (Environmental Ethicist, Rostock)
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