What's the article about?
- It talks about the potential drawbacks of geo-engineered technology such as solar radiation management (SRM) for climate change mitigation.
- GS3: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment
- India experienced its driest August in a century, highlighting the constant threat of disrupted weather and the potential consequences for the economy.
- While the link between this anomaly and climate change is still being studied, it emphasizes the importance of climate mitigation.
- One such mitigation strategy is solar radiation management (SRM), which aims to block some of the incoming solar radiation to cool the Earth's surface.
- However, SRM poses significant dangers due to its interference with natural mechanisms and planet-wide effects.
- Solar Radiation Management (SRM) is a geoengineering technique that involves blocking some of the incoming solar radiation to cool the earth's surface.
- While SRM is being considered as a potential climate mitigation solution, it is a high-risk solution that interferes with natural mechanisms with unavoidable planet-wide effects.
- The following are some of the reasons why SRM is a high-risk solution to climate change:
- Unpredictable consequences: SRM experiments could lead to unpredictable consequences that could affect countries beyond their borders. For example, if an SRM experiment by one country leads to more rain over the Horn of Africa than expected, it could trigger a locust swarm that eventually destroys crops in Pakistan and India.
- Lack of accountability: There is currently no mechanism that holds a geoengineering government accountable to consequences beyond its borders nor through which affected countries can appeal for restitution.
- Insufficient research: There has been little research on understanding how the world's myriad weather systems affect each other and their relative sensitivities to interventions such as SRM.
- Dilution of effective strategies: SRM will take resources, focus, and political will away from the most effective strategy – cutting emissions – and increase emissions limits.
- The Climate Overshoot Commission report calls for more research to close crucial scientific and governance gaps before any deliberations on the implementation of SRM-like technologies.
- The report acknowledges that the scientific community does not understand SRM enough to attempt a deployment, even in experimental fashion.
- The report argues for retaining SRM in the mix of potential climate mitigation solutions, but this is a precarious suggestion because even less controversial, but nonetheless problematic, mitigation technologies such as carbon capture take resources, focus, and political will away from the most effective strategy – cutting emissions – and increase emissions limits.
- While the enormity of climate change requires quick and decisive action, it is disingenuous to contend that more high-risk solutions such as SRM should remain on the table. The focus should be on implementing better solutions such as cutting emissions and carbon capture, which have fewer risks and are more effective in mitigating climate change.
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