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Solar Radiation Modification: governance of research


In order to achieve the expected outcome, proposals should address all of the following:

  • Synthesis of the state of the art regarding the potential contribution of SRM to climate stabilisation, and its associated risks.
  • Clarification of what activities constitute SRM, and the extent to which SRM is permitted, prohibited and/or governed within the ERA at present.
  • Proposal of principles and guidelines that could be used by a public authority for permitting, prohibiting or supervising SRM field experiments on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider could include inter alia:
    • Scientific and operational preconditions (e.g. monitoring mechanisms during and after research, time horizon, contingency planning).
    • Legal issues (e.g. liability for impacts).
    • Decision-making processes and ethical considerations (e.g. Who gets to decide? Procedural aspects such as how to ensure broad, informed stakeholder consultation).
    • Approaches to cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment in a context of uncertainty (risk of action, and risk of inaction).
  • An inclusive expert and stakeholder dialogue process, aligned with the principles of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) should be organised in order to inform the analysis mentioned above.

The action is also encouraged to consider the following questions:

  • Whether SRM field research under controlled conditions (e.g. within the ERA or like-minded jurisdictions) could lessen the risk of its unregulated deployment elsewhere in the world.
  • Comparison of the risks of SRM with analogous risk management dilemmas faced by science and society.

The action should also identify what the characteristics of such a governance framework should be, taking into account issues such as scientific rigour, risk assessment and public legitimacy.

Promotion of SRM or conducting of SRM field experiments are outside of the scope of this action.

Actions are encouraged, where relevant, to explore synergies with other initiatives in Europe and beyond investigating Solar Radiation Modification from a technological, regulatory and/or ethical perspective.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.