SRMGI’s first meeting in Brazil
On 22 November 2016, between forty and fifty people gathered at the Brazil National Space Research Institute (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais or INPE) for a day-long workshop on SRM geoengineering research and governance.
The workshop was formally opened by Prof Ricardo Galvão, the director of INPE, and Dr Carlos Nobre, former National Secretary for R&D Policies at the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation, who made the introductory comments. After welcoming the participants to INPE and the workshop, they discussed the threat of climate change, as well as the importance of scientific research and the need to expand the dialogue around SRM geoengineering.
The science of climate change and solar geoengineering
The main morning session focused on the science of climate change and solar geoengineering. Three talks to set the scene for participant discussion. Prof Paulo Artaxo of the University of São Paulo addressed the climate context in which SRM research and discussion is developing, before running through the science behind different proposed SRM techniques, as well as several of the proposals for carbon geoengineering, which would involve direct CO2 removal from the atmosphere. Andy Parker (SRMGI) and Dr Juan Moreno Cruz (Georgia Institute of Technology) provided a general introduction to the scientific and socio-political dimensions of SRM, before Dr Jean Ometto of INPE and Prof Roberto Schaeffer of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro gave discussant perspectives on the potential benefits and risks of SRM.
Following the presentations, there was an open discussion with the participants, who were particularly interested to discuss the possible impacts and side effects of SRM, who was funding and supporting research, and how the complicated politics of climate engineering might play out.
How should research be governed?
During the afternoon session, the focus moved on to the governance of SRM, particularly the most pressing question that motivates the work of SRMGI: how should research be governed? Andy Parker presented on considerations for governing any SRM research outside the laboratory, while Prof Eduardo Viola (University of Brasilia) focused on the international governance dimensions, while Prof Juan Moreno Cruz addressed the economics of SRM.
Following a brief Q&A session, participants split into four groups for a World Café-style exercise, where they rotated between four different facilitated stations and discussed:
- General hopes and fears about SRM development;
- Next steps for SRM research;
- Governing SRM research outside the laboratory;
- International governance considerations.
The final session of the day was an open, moderated participant discussion on the next stages of Brazilian engagement with SRM research governance.