Term Member Virtual Meeting: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool the Planet

Friday, June 3, 2022
Martin Zwick/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Stewart M. Patrick

James H. Binger Senior Fellow in Global Governance and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program, Council on Foreign Relations


President and Chief Executive Officer, Disaster Recovery Institute International; CFR Term Member

With the planet warming at an alarming pace, there are currently three main approaches to managing risks from the changing climate: reducing emissions, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and adapting to build resilience and minimize the effects of the increase in temperature. CFR senior fellow Stewart Patrick discusses on a potential fourth approach, known as solar geoengineering, that reflects sunlight back into space to reduce rising temperatures on Earth. Drawing on findings and recommendations from a recent Council Special Report Reflecting Sunlight to Reduce Climate Risk: Priorities for Research and International Cooperation, Patrick also discusses the need for strong international cooperation to determine the feasibility and potential consequences of sunlight reflection, to ensure collective decision making regarding any deployment of such techniques, and to manage the geopolitical risks of this untested enterprise.

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