Policy Brief: Governing Marine Solar Radiation Modification

Current commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change are insufficient to keep global warming to ‘well below’ 2°C, and according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), much greater ambition is necessary.

In response to the risks posed by climate change, some are considering the viability of Solar Radiation Modification (SRM) techniques, which aim to reflect solar radiation back into space or allow more heat to escape Earth’s atmosphere. With more than two thirds of Earth covered by water, numerous potential SRM techniques might be considered for deployment in the marine environment in the future.

Marine SRM techniques are for the most part theoretical, but if ever deployed, some could create large and potentially long-term risks and governance challenges. We do not yet know enough about the risks, costs and potential benefits, or governance requirements, to understand if marine SRM techniques could be viable, or – if so – whether, when or how to deploy them.