Carbon Removal, Solar Geoengineering, and the Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, governments agreed to 17 Global Goals to make a better world by 2030. These are also known as the Sustainable Development Goals.
They include eradicating extreme poverty, ending hunger and ensuring good health for everyone.
Climate change is already making these SDGs harder to achieve.
Current global commitments would likely lead to 3°C of global warming by 2100. That would have serious implications for all the SDGs.
Our first priority to tackle climate change is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers are also exploring the potential for intentional large-scale interventions in the earth system, using technologies known as Carbon Removal and Solar Geoengineering.
C2G2, together with three partner organisations, worked with experts from over 20 countries to establish what we know, and what we don’t know, about how Carbon Removal and Solar Geoengineering technologies might affect the SDGs.
Research indicates that at least three quarters of the SDGs would likely be affected in some way if large-scale Carbon Removal or Solar Geoengineering were to be deployed. Should they prove feasible, effective and desirable, these technologies might contribute to limiting the impact of climate change on the SDGs.
The impact of Carbon Removal technologies on sustainable development is not well understood. Many technologies are untested at scale, and their deployment could have significant adverse effects.
At the same time, they can also have positive effects — beyond tackling climate change — under specific conditions.
Uncertainties surrounding Solar Geoengineering are very large. Deployment without adequate global governance could have significant implications for the SDGs.
Solar Geoengineering could have potentially uneven results across regions, and could pose challenges to international relations.