Three top climate scientists are cooperating to embark on the largest-ever, multidisciplinary review of more than twenty emerging technologies. The ERC-funded project GENIE not only aims to expand the toolkit for a zero-emissions future but also warns about potential risks to human society.
Solar Geoengineering and Negative Emissions Technologies
GENIE studies technological innovations as options to complement mitigation and adaptation strategies to reverse climate change. One of them is greenhouse gas removal (GGR) technologies, which take carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere to store it in natural or geological sinks.
In addition, another option in the study is solar radiation management (SRM), in which sunlight is reflected back into outer space to limit the increase of temperature, for instance through stratospheric aerosol injections or marine cloud brightening.
According to Professor Benjamin Sovacool, who together with Jan Christoph Minx and Keywan Riahi leads the GENIE project, these technologies, which have been these technologies a few years ago, now have the potential to grant our wishes.
However, Sovacool also highlighted that these technologies may also pose serious risks.
What Technology Is the Most Promising for Climate Change?
GENIE includes a team of 40 scientists and supporting staff working across 3 institutions focusing on six core work packages and two transversal work packages, and twelve research questions.
The project is looking at more than twenty emerging climate tech innovations holistically, including their feasibility, and the socio-economic, and political consequences of their large-scale deployment.
As technology is unlikely to achieve climate neutrality without accounting for possible social and political constraints, Sovacool said such projects only develop thanks to the right match of personalities and sound planning.
In GENIE, the scientists are integrating previously overlooked climate risks ranging from economic risks to vulnerability to political risks. In fact, some technological options can be used to modify the weather and cause disasters. For example, India could interfere with the monsoons in Pakistan and vice versa.
Earlier this year, scientists from the GENIE project talked to aboriginal landowners about the marine protected areas at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. They explained how they could use cloud brightening and ecosystem restoration to protect native coral.
Article Source: European Research Council
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