Wednesday, April 27, 2022

CFR Report calls for Urgency on Sunlight Deflection Research

A special report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) calls on the U.S. to take major, urgent measures to increase research and preparations for sunlight reflection, technically called solar radiation management, as a part of the answer to global warming.

Prepared by Stewart Patrick and released at the end of April 2022, the CFR report evaluates the existing approaches of emissions reductions and carbon removal. It finds them insufficient for preventing enormous warming risks, and likely to remain greatly insufficient for scientific and practical reasons that would be objectively very difficult to overcome. It concludes that sunlight reflection will probably be an indispensable component in preventing dangerous levels of global warming, and that research and preparations for this need to be greatly accelerated.

Awareness is growing of the need to proceed on this. In 2021 the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a similar report, recommending to the U.S. government to invest in upgrading solar geoengineering research.

The CFR report recommends both greatly accelerated research and testing, and diplomatic and international governance preparations for carrying out sunlight reflection with global support and coordination. 

"This Council Special Report builds a compelling case... It is sad that such a report is necessary, but it will be even sadder still if we do not make exploring the potential of sunlight reflection an urgent priority.”

             -- CFR President Richard Haass

 “Sunlight reflection … could—in light of current warming trends and risk projections—make what is likely to be a lengthy transition to a decarbonized world tolerable. It is incumbent on countries to assess the feasibility and wisdom of pursuing this option and the institutions required to govern its potential deployment…. Given the stakes, the U.S. government is, at present, severely underinvesting in areas of science relevant to sunlight reflection.… It would be vastly preferable for the world to make progress on the science of sunlight reflection and to discuss its national and international governance openly today, so that policymakers are prepared to make informed decisions on its potential deployment tomorrow, rather than being forced to act out of ignorance on the fly when all other options have failed.”

                 -- “Reflecting Sunlight to Reduce Climate Risk: Priorities for Research and International Cooperation”, Council Special Report No. 93, April 2022.


For the Center for War/Peace Studies (CWPS) initiative to upgrade work and awareness on sunlight reflection, see



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