Explore every possible solar shield we can use:

Source: The post is based on the article “Explore every possible solar shield we can use” published in “Live mint” on 4th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Climate Change – solar radiation modification.

News: Recently, the US White House released a report on “solar radiation modification” (SRM).

Why SRM is important?

According to the latest update, the Earth’s temperature may rise beyond 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels earlier than anticipated. Additionally, the risks of surpassing this temperature threshold could be more severe than previously estimated in 2015.

Additionally, progress on climate action has been slow.

SRM has the potential to reduce the effects of increased temperatures and provide time for better solutions.

What is SRM?

The basic objective of SRM is to reflect solar heat back. for which two methods are under consideration.

One is aerosol injection of the stratosphere. The second is marine cloud brightening. Both can achieve a similar effect by acting as a reflector.

What are the risks of SRM?

There are risks of ecological disruption associated with both methods. For example, aerosols could cause ozone depletion and even hurt biodiversity.

The potential impacts on rainfall and other unknown indirect effects of solar geo-engineering would have global ramifications.

What does the report say?

The report advocates in-depth research on SRM to assess all its risks and potential benefits.

The report suggests the adoption of a ‘risk versus risk’ framework to assist policymakers in understanding the risks associated with SRM in comparison to the risks posed by the current pace of climate action.

What should be done?

The potential of space-based solutions, such as mirror lattices, should also be explored. They could offer more precise control over cooling by directly influencing solar radiation without affecting the air.

Including space-based solutions in official research programs in the US would also encourage other space-faring nations, like India, to enhance their own research.

There should be transparency in any intervention efforts, and it is important to thoroughly examine all available options on a global scale.

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