Geoengineering Approaches

Available evidence suggests that avoiding serious consequences from climate change poses major technological and policy challenges. If new technologies and institutions are insufficient to achieve critical emissions-reduction targets, or if a "climate emergency" emerges, decision makers may consider proposals to manage Earth's climate directly. Such efforts, often referred to as geoengineering approaches, encompass two very different categories of approaches: carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere, and solar radiation management (SRM). Two proposals for CDR—iron fertilization in the ocean and direct air capture—are discussed briefly in Chapters 9 and 14, respectively. As noted in Chapter 2 and discussed in greater detail in Chapter 15, little is currently known about the efficacy or potential unintended consequences of SRM approaches, particularly how to approach difficult ethical and governance questions. Therefore, research is needed to better understand the feasibility of different geoengi-

neering approaches; the potential consequences (intended and unintended) of such approaches on different human and environmental systems; and the related physical, ecological, technical, social, and ethical issues, including research that could inform societal debates about what would constitute a "climate emergency" and on governance systems that could facilitate whether, when, and how to intentionally intervene in the climate system. It is important that such research not distract or take away from other important research areas, including research on understanding the climate system and research on "conventional" strategies for limiting the magnitude of climate change and adapting to its impacts.

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