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U.S. needs solar geoengineering research program, report says

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Science  02 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6537, pp. 19
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6537.19

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Summary

An influential panel of scientists has recommended the United States pursue a robust research program into solar geoengineering, a suite of techniques that can reflect sunlight and might forestall—temporarily—some of the worst effects of global warming. Such a U.S. program, if supported by the Biden administration, could total $200 million over 5 years, suggests a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Solar geoengineering research could include the deliberate release of substances into the atmosphere, states the panel, which began its work in 2019. But such experiments would require substantial oversight, risk assessment, and public outreach. They should only move forward if they provide observations that could not be recorded by any other means, be it in the lab or by observing natural releases, such as volcanic eruptions. And such experiments should not serve to advance an agenda of larger scale releases, says Chris Field, a climate scientist at Stanford University and chair of the committee. "Learning more about these technologies shouldn't be seen as a step toward deployment."

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