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The Geoengineering Question

Solar radiation modification – reflecting some of the sun’s rays to cool the planet – has long been shunned as a fringe idea. But evaluating possible futures both with and without this science, and researching its risks and benefits, offers a safer path to sound climate policy than simply ignoring the idea.

UTRECHT – In late June, the European Commission signaled for the first time a willingness to engage with solar radiation modification (SRM), a controversial concept that encompasses methods – more theoretical than real – to cool the planet by reflecting some of the sun’s rays. Yet by declaring that it would support efforts to assess “the risks and uncertainties of climate interventions”like SRM, the Commission has chosen to focus solely on these technologies’ potential dangers rather than their feasibility or potential benefits.