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18 December 2018

Announcing SRM geoengineering research groups in the Global South

TWAS and SRMGI are proud to announce the first eight geoengineering research groups from the Global South. The teams will explore how SRM could affect, amongst others, dust storms across the Middle East, droughts in Southern Africa, the spread of cholera in South Asia. Their findings will be published at the end of 2020.

Research teams from eight developing countries have been awarded research grants by TWAS and the Solar Radiation Management Governance Initiative (SRMGI) to explore how solar radiation management geoengineering (SRM) could reduce or add to climate change risks in the Global South.

The teams will be the first to receive grants from the new DECIMALS Fund (Developing Country Impacts Modelling Analysis for SRM). DECIMALS is the world’s first international SRM research fund and it’s the first aimed exclusively at scientists from developing countries.

SRM geoengineering is a controversial proposal for reducing the risks of climate change by reflecting away a small amount of solar energy, for instance by injecting reflective particles into the upper atmosphere. Scientists are clear that SRM cannot be an alternative to cutting emissions of greenhouses gases. However, if it could be made to work safely and reliably, SRM would be the only known way to quickly stop global temperatures from rising. Therefore, it might offer a way to reduce some of the climate risks that Earth is already committed to. However, there are still large uncertainties around the possible benefits and drawbacks of SRM, and it could add to the risks of global warming or provoke international tensions.

Developing countries have an especially high stake in discussions about SRM. They are often less resilient to environmental change and more vulnerable to the impacts of global warming, which means they stand to gain or lose the most from SRM – whether it is ultimately used or rejected. However, most of the research and discussion of SRM has taken place in developed countries.

More than 70 teams applied for DECIMALS grants and the eight funded projects are based in Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Jamaica and South Africa. The teams will spend the next two years researching how SRM could affect important climate variables in their regions, including dust storms in the Middle East, droughts in Southern Africa, extreme temperatures in the Caribbean, and the spread of cholera in South Asia. The projects will publish their findings at the end of 2020 and it is hoped that their research will promote informed discussion about the science, governance and ethics of SRM geoengineering.

You can read more about DECIMALS Fund, the projects and the researchers here: http://www.srmgi.org/decimals-fund/

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