Speakers have opined that quality research can play a significant role in reducing the impacts of climate change, and that research and discussion of “geoengineering” is also necessary.
They were addressing the concluding session of the fourth annual Gobeshona conference in Dhaka on Thursday, with Dr Atiq Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies, in the chair.
Addressing the session, Andy Parker, project director of SRM Governance Initiative, said solar radiation management (SRM) through geo-engineering should not be considered a solution to climate change; rather, it should be seen as a potential complementary strategy to mitigation and adaptation.
Geoengineering is the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change.
“SRM geoengineering could be very helpful or very harmful, but no one yet knows which. Developing countries should be more centrally involved in research and discussions, as they are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” he said.
Parker also explained how the SRM approach would block out some solar energy in order to lower temperatures and reduce some of the risks associated with global warming.
“Modelling studies of SRM indicate that moderate use could lower global temperatures and reduce disruption to precipitation levels expected from climate change. Research has also indicated that it has the potential to slow sea level rise, although it can’t stop it altogether,” he said, adding that it has also some possible side effects such as disruption of the ozone layer, acid rain and health effects.
If a large amount of SRM cooling were ever stopped suddenly, models indicate there would be a sudden and potentially dangerous rise in temperatures, as SRM only masks the warming from greenhouses, gases, and does not remove them from the atmosphere, he said.
Parker said that a much wider global discussion is needed, especially in developing countries, about SRM research and how it is governed.
Franceso Obino, head of programmes at Global Development Network in India, highlighted the need for engaging social scientists in research and policymaking process so that they can bring new insights to addressing the climate change issues.
The speakers also put emphasis on capacity building of research institutions to help them conduct quality research so that developing and underdeveloped countries can benefit from them.
Pointing out the challenges facing research institutions in least developed countries, Arianna Flores Corral, a fellow at the organization, stressed that adequate research funding and quality research work by social scientists can help the LDCs and developing cttheountries combat climate change effects and bridge the policy gap.