Being Cognizant of the Framing of Solar Geoengineering in Scenario Design

Organizers: Masa Sugiyama (University of Tokyo), Peter Irvine (Harvard University), Ben Kravitz (PNNL)

research SESSION

Solar geoengineering, also called albedo modification or solar radiation management, is increasingly receiving attention as a potential means of temporarily reducing the risks dangerous anthropogenic climate change, complementing greenhouse gas emissions cuts.  Most well studied scenarios involving solar geoengineering have been developed by and for the climate modeling community.  While useful for understanding physical climate effects of various potential deployments of solar geoengineering, these narrowly framed scenarios have not addressed the full range of futures of solar geoengineering:  what might be the intended purpose(s) of a hypothetical solar geoengineering deployment, and how can one feasibly represent these possibilities in climate models? What would the climatic and societal implications of such scenarios be? 

The aim of this session is to bridge gaps between Earth System Modeling and scenario research, focusing on how one might include broader perspectives (such as justice, ethics, economics, public participation, impacts assessment, and adaptive management) in designing solar geoengineering scenarios.  We welcome submissions that address natural science (e.g., The Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP)), impacts assessment modeling, and integrated assessment modeling, as well as presentations or discussion topics that can constructively inform those models.  We particularly welcome insights as to how different choices of representing solar geoengineering in scenarios (e.g., as a substitute for vs complement to mitigation, or inclusion of the termination effect) frame assumptions and create expectations in the geoengineering discourse.  We anticipate that fundamental limitations in modeling will preclude immediate implementation of some suggestions or needs that arise; practical paths forward will be a useful topic of discussion.

Our current plan is to allocate two thirds of the time to research presentations (about 4-5 short presentations and Q&As), and the remaining one third to discussion.