As the climate crisis deepens, policymakers and scientists are considering a range of emerging approaches to reduce risk. These include the large-scale removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (‘carbon dioxide removal’ – which would address the primary human source of climate change), and the reflection of more sunlight back into space to cool the planet (‘solar radiation modification’ – which would address a symptom of climate change).
None of these approaches would reduce the need for other actions; they would all need to be part of a broad suite of responses, including reducing emissions to net zero and then net negative, plus adaptation.
But there are big questions about the significant risks and potential trade-offs some of these approaches would bring, and how these would be measured against the risks of a warming world. Policymakers do not know enough to take informed decisions, or how to balance the costs and benefits of various approaches. There isn’t even agreement on what words should describe them. Some call these various technologies ‘geoengineering’, but different groups often use different terminology. (See our terminology guide).
Awareness, knowledge, and discussions about these technologies are in their infancy. Their governance is essential, yet existing frameworks are insufficient to deal with the scale and speed with which some would need to be deployed. The governance of these climate-altering technologies also needs to be aligned with other sustainable development goals, such as biodiversity or human rights, so that one does not undermine the other. C2G seeks to catalyse inclusive and comprehensive governance of these technologies, and encourages society-wide discussions to inform national and international policy-making.