Highlights from the global launch of the Solar Radiation Modification Youth Watch Initiative at New York Climate Week

Guest Blog By Clara Botto, Sarah Kwerit, and Aasima Kamal Mowni

The Solar Radiation Modification Youth Watch (SRM YW) initiative, follwoing a soft launch at the IUB Green Genius Season 4 in Bangladesh July 2023 marked a significant landmark with an international hybrid launch event, entitled ‘Why should we be talking about SRM’ watch the event recording here on September 17th as part of Climate Week – New York City. The event aimed to foster global youth involvement to discuss the need for strengthening governance around SRM while emphasizing the importance of involving young voices in these discussions. On that day we were joined by young activists from different parts of the world, senior professionals and the film crew of the documentary “Plan C for Civilization.” 

 The event featured opening remarks from Thelma Krug, former Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and interventions from young researchers and professionals in the panels “Young Women in SRM” and “Youth Perspectives on SRM.” It was inspiring to hear from Thelma Krug as she acknowledged the platform’s importance in creating a global forum for youth discussions on SRM technologies while also mentioning that it represents the first step towards claiming inclusive participation in SRM governance at all levels – local, national and international. 

Speakers included Holly Scoble (Queensland University of Technology), Varisha Khan (COMSATS Islamabad and Degrees Initiative), Trisha Patel (Degrees Initiative and Existential Risk Alliance), Alice Wells (University of Exeter), Loann Marquant (Harvard Kennedy School), Irfan Ullah (SilverLining), Uula Jouste (Operaatio Arktis), Prisha Kumar (Institute for Climate Policy Solutions), Joshua Amponsem (Green Africa Youth Organisation) and Stephanie Ulivieri (Youth4Nature).The young researchers, activists and early career professionals brought both relevant science and thought provoking remarks about SRM, covering topics from the science behind Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) to its impact on malaria in South India, the broader relevance of SRM in addressing existential risks, and experiences from involvement in the first-ever fieldwork on Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB) in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. These shared experiences emphasized that youth voices are key to promote effective governance mechanisms for climate-altering technologies and that their voices bring not only the expertise, but also the intergenerational perspective that is needed in all climate and environmental discussions.  

SRM YW is a youth-led initiative focused on enhancing the knowledge and building capacity of young people in the science and governance of SRM technologies. SRM YW maintains a neutral stance on all decisions related to the research and potential deployment of SRM techniques and technologies. We seek to provide young people globally with access to diverse, balanced, evidence-based information to engage critically and constructively in discussions and decision-making about SRM governance. For more information visit:  https://www.srmyouthwatch.org/ to learn more.

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