The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is releasing a report in response to a Congressional mandate in the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022 related to solar radiation modification, also known as solar geoengineering. The report, which was developed in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other key federal agencies, identifies critical knowledge gaps and scopes potential research areas that could improve understanding of risks and benefits posed by solar radiation modification.

Importantly, this report does not signify any change in policy or activity by the Biden-Harris Administration, which remains focused on reducing emissions, increasing resilience, advancing environmental justice, and achieving true energy security. Release of this report fulfills a Congressional mandate, and there are no plans underway to establish a comprehensive research program focused on solar radiation modification.

Report Takeaways:

The report cautions that any potential comprehensive research program must encompass the societal as well as the scientific dimensions of solar radiation modification and highlights several key priority areas for further solar radiation modification research, including:

  1. Determining climate and environmental impacts of solar radiation modification deployment
  2. Assessing potential societal outcomes and ecological consequences
  3. Examining how research might be done in cooperation among international partners

The report also acknowledges that research on solar radiation modification impacts to date has been ad hoc and fragmented, rather than being the product of a comprehensive strategy. As a result, substantial knowledge gaps and uncertainties exist in many critical areas.

The full report can be found here.

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