Solar geoengineering: This is the name of the idea of ​​shielding and artificially reflecting the sun’s rays with small particles in order to slow global warming. It sounds like science fiction, but it is a method that is currently being researched and could be implemented.

But there are criticisms: in a letter from the journal “Wires Climate Change”, more than 60 ecologists and scientists call for an international agreement against the implementation of this method. Solar geoengineering is not a solution to climate change, the letter states. The method is too risky.

Is research dangerous?

But where there will be higher fertility and where it will be lower, one cannot predict. “If the Earth system, the stratosphere, were to be darkened, it would certainly have an impact on flora and fauna, on biodiversity – but we don’t know exactly what impact.” Messner already criticizes research on the artificial blocking of solar energy. radiation.

Because “if climate change has very strong dimensions and effects, then people will think about doing it, whether they know exactly what the risks are or not.”

Application for an international agreement

The signatories demand that solar geoengineering research be restricted and that funding and patents be prohibited. This is the only way to prevent individual states from using the method on their own – to the detriment of other parts of the world. Previous supranational organizations are unable to guarantee this.

The use of solar geoengineering should be politically coordinated, says Stefan Schäfer, a political scientist at the Institute for Transformative Sustainability Research IASS in Potsdam, who is mainly interested in the political and ethical aspects of this technology.

Schäfer supports the concern of the letter. But that in the current political situation “a consensual technocratic management is possible, I think it is very unlikely”. He predicts political conflicts of power.

Danger of neglecting other measures

“It could also affect our environmental behavior in many other areas, so you have to say to yourself: yes, we already have the solution ready here, we don’t need to save CO2 anymore, but we will go there after and try to do like this to intercept a parasol, a sulfur umbrella.

From an ethical point of view, adds political scientist Stefan Schäfer, one must also ask oneself, for example, “how people react to what we call the global climate crisis”. For example, that it is not considered “who is really historically responsible for climate change”.

Audio: Ramona Westhof; Stefan Schäfer in conversation with Nicole Dittmer
Online text: abr