Early days

The Degrees Initiative was launched in 2010 as the SRM Governance Initiative (SRMGI), a response to the Royal Society’s seminal Geoengineering the Climate report and partnership between Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Royal Society, and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).

The 2010-2011 Working Group

SRMGI was originally imagined as a year-long project that would produce recommendations on the governance of SRM. It convened an international working group of 28 academics and NGO representatives from 16 different countries to draft a report. The group’s inputs and discussions at the 2011 SRMGI conference in the UK, provided the intellectual foundation for the 2011 SRMGI report. Early in the group’s deliberations it was decided that specific governance recommendations would be premature. Therefore, the SRMGI report instead sought to provide a foundation for further discussions, outlining different governance considerations and possibilities.

The members of the 2011 working group were (with their affiliations at the time):

NameAffiliationNationality
Prof. Vicente BarrosUniversity of Buenos AiresArgentina
Dr Jason BlackstockCentre for International Governance InnovationsCanada
Prof. Ken CaldeiraStanford UniversityUSA
Prof. Paul CrutzenMax Planck Institute, MainzThe Netherlands
Dr Arunabha GhoshCouncil on Energy, Environment and WaterIndia
Prof. Clive HamiltonCentre for Applied Philosophy and Public EthicsAustralia
Prof. David KeithUniversity of CalgaryCanada/USA
Prof. Peter Liss, FRSUniversity of East AngliaUK
Dr Jane LongLawrence Livermore National LaboratoryUSA
Prof. Igor MokhovAM Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsRussia
Prof. Granger MorganCarnegie Mellon UniversityUSA
Dr Sospeter MuhongoUniversity of Dar es SalaamTanzania
Prof. Laban OgalloDrought Monitoring Centre, NairobiKenya
Prof. Ted ParsonUniversity of MichiganCanada
Dr Atiq RahmanCentre for Advanced StudiesBangladesh
Prof. Phil RaschPacific Northwest National LaboratoryUSA
Prof. Steve RaynerUniversity of OxfordUK/USA
Prof. Catherine RedgwellUniversity College LondonUK
Prof. Alan RobockRutgers UniversityUSA
Dr David SantilloGreenpeaceUK
Dr Youba SokonaAfrican Climate Policy CentreEthiopia
Dr Pablo SuarezRed Cross Red Crescent Climate CentreArgentina
Dr Akimasa SumiUniversity of TokyoJapan
Sen. Liz ThompsonBarbadian Senate, Rio+20Barbados
Prof. Eduardo ViolaUniversity of BrasiliaBrazil
Prof. David WinickoffUniversity of California, BerkeleyUSA
Prof. Xue LanTsinghua UniversityPR China

The birth of our outreach meetings

Once the report was published, with the support of the co-chairs, Andy Parker shifted SRMGI’s focus to the Global South. SRMGI began to work to internationalise the discussion, initially running SRM outreach meetings with local partner organisations in India, Pakistan and China. This was followed by a trio of meetings around Africa funded by the Inter-Academy Panel and delivered in partnership with the African Academy of Sciences. The model for our outreach workshops was established. They always have the same goals: to start well-informed conversations about SRM in the local climate community and to get participant ideas on any next steps in their countries or regions.

Group photo of the participants at one of SRMGI's first outreach meetings, in Senegal

Expansion

In 2015, a grant from Open Philanthropy allowed for a significant expansion of outreach activities, with workshops across the world’s developing regions. A further grant in 2017 allowed for the launch of the DECIMALS Fund, the world’s first SRM research aimed exclusively at the Global South. Since then, the fund has profoundly changed the demographic of the field and Degrees has awarded over a million dollars in research and travel grants for southern scientists. In 2021, Degrees became a non-profit organization in the UK, giving it the foundation it needs to build on its proven model.