Despite years of negotiation, the nations of the world have so far failed to agree to limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
This has increased interest in geoengineering—deliberate, large-scale interventions in Earth’s climate system—in order to moderate global warming.
Geoengineering, a climate emergency option?
In 2009, the Royal Society, a fellowship of the world's most eminent scientists, issued a report concluding that geoengineering is not an alternative to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, it may be the only option to reduce global temperatures quickly in the event of a climate emergency.
The Royal Society called for transparent, responsible, international research into geoengineering techniques.
Ensuring responsible research
Few international guidelines for geoengineering research exist, so the Royal Society partnered with the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to form the SRMGI.
SRMGI aims to ensure that geoengineering research is conducted in a manner that is responsible, transparent and environmentally sound.
Solar radiation management
SRMGI focuses on solar radiation management (SRM)—a geoengineering technique that would counteract global warming by reflecting a small percentage of the sun's light and heat back into space.
SRM may offer valuable opportunities to reduce global warming, but it could also have harmful side effects on ecosystems and human society.
Involving many stakeholders
SRMGI involves a wide variety of stakeholders to ensure that diverse perspectives, especially those in the developing world and emerging economies are actively included in global discussions of SRM research and governance. Participants are invited from the natural and social sciences, nongovernmental organizations, private enterprise, and the governments of developed and developing countries.