Workshop on solar radiation management (SRM) geoengineering, hosted by the Beijing Normal University (BNU) in partnership with the SRM Governance Initiative (SRMGI). SRM is a controversial and theoretical proposal for addressing some of the risks of global warming. If ever implemented, it would involve blocking out a small amount of sunlight to cool the planet - for instance by spraying tiny reflective particles into the upper atmosphere to replicate the natural cooling effect of volcanoes.
The workshop will provide an introduction to the science of SRM, and the many socio-political and ethical issues it raises. It will feature a mix of presentations and group exercises, and participants will be encouraged to explore what the next steps for research governance should be in China. The workshop and the organisations that are hosting it are neutral on the issue of SRM. They solely seek to expand the discussion around this important topic, rather than promoting or opposing it.
The event will be held in Beijing on13th May, 2017, from 10:00 to 15:00 (location to be confirmed). No prior geoengineering expertise is necessary, as this will be an introductory workshop suitable for people from all backgrounds. Lunch will be provided, and spaces are limited, so please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and Telephone number.
Background: what is SRM geoengineering?
SRM geoengineering is receiving increasing attention as scientists try to understand whether it could reduce some of the risks of global warming. It would involve reflecting away a small percentage of inbound sunlight, and leading proposals under consideration by researchers include spraying tiny reflective particles into the stratosphere, or spraying seawater into marine clouds to make them whiter and more reflective. If it could be made to work, SRM would be the only known way to quickly slow, stop, or even reverse the rise in global temperatures. As such it could potentially provide a unique policy option for reducing some of the global warming risks that Earth is committed to from greenhouse gases already emitted to the atmosphere.
However, its environmental and political effects are still poorly understood and any effects would not be restricted by national boundaries. Modelling research indicates that SRM could significantly reduce the effects of global warming on temperature and rainfall, but full impacts of SRM are still highly uncertain, and it has the potential to be quite helpful or harmful. Moreover, the physical impacts are only part of the story, and the socio-political dimensions could prove trickier than the physical ones.
Objective of the workshop
Developing countries have the most to gain or lose in any decisions over SRM, as they are typically less resilient to environmental changes. However, much of the research and discussion of SRM is taking place in developed countries. SRMGI seeks to address this by running engagement meetings across the developing world, always in concert with local partner organisations, to expand the conversation to new regions and new voices.
The workshop will seek to kick-start a discussion of SRM research governance in the Chinese climate community. Expert presentations will provide an introductory overview of the scientific, socio-political and ethical dimensions of SRM, and group discussions will encourage participants to share their opinions and ideas. The workshop will not tell participants what to think, but will rather help them develop their own positions and questions. The ultimate goal is to help develop the capacity of Chinese academics, NGO representatives and policymakers to play a full role in any future discussions on the next steps with research governance.
A formal invitation and a workshop agenda will be sent closer to the date of event, but please save the date in your calendar and RSVP by email to save your place. We look forward to seeing you in Beijing!