Solar radiation modification, particularly stratospheric aerosol injection, holds the potential to reduce the impacts of climate change on sustainable development, yet could itself generate negative impacts and is subject to intense scholarly debate based on relatively little evidence. Based on expert elicitation involving over 30 individuals with backgrounds across the domains of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we identify a broad range of potential implications of solar radiation modification for the SDGs. Depending on design and application scenarios, applications could potentially assist in the pursuit of several of the goals by limiting temperature rise and limiting acceleration in atmospheric water cycles as well as extreme weather events. However, by adding to particulates, introducing an additional layer of complexity and potential for conflict in global governance, as well as otherwise altering planetary environments, they might also detract from the pursuit of SDGs and introduce novel risks. The overall impact of solar radiation modification on sustainable development is currently highly uncertain and dependent on climate change mitigation pathways and governance. We identify key areas for further transdisciplinary research the pursuit of which might reduce some uncertainty and help inform emerging governance processes.
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- Publication Type
- Academic Articles
Honegger, M., Michaelowa, A., & Pan, J. (2021). Potential implications of solar radiation modification for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Mitigation and adaptation strategies for global change, 26: 21. doi:10.1007/s11027-021-09958-1.
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