Date Published: December 1, 2023
In today's rapidly changing world, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections show that we will likely not only reach but overshoot the 1.5°C global warming threshold, even under the IPCC’s very low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions scenario. The recent sixth assessment report of IPCC has made it clear that emission reductions alone are unlikely to prevent the catastrophic impacts of climate change. Under these circumstances, some actors globally are calling for research and the potential development of a viable last-resort option, known as solar radiation modification (SRM). Acknowledging the transformative potential of SRM and the profound impact it can have on our planet's climate, it is imperative that governance processes are established with inclusivity, transparency, and accountability at their core.
The rationale for calling for signatories of this ‘open letter’ lies in the recognition of the pivotal role that young people can play in shaping governance discussions and a framework for SRM. Knowing that all decisions made today (or not made) about SRM research and potential deployment will have a direct impact on young people now and future generations. We aim to build a community of young individuals who share a common belief in the necessity of incorporating youth voices into the decision-making processes that strength the governance of these emerging technologies.
By signing this open letter of the SRM Youth Watch initiative, you would be expressing your conviction that the time is now to engage in meaningful conversations about the governance of emerging technologies like SRM. Moreover, it underscores your belief that youth voices should not merely be tokenised but integral to SRM governance. In doing so, we take a significant step towards ensuring intergenerational justice within the broader climate movement.
2023 has seen an increase in reports on SRM and following the United Nations Environment Programmes One Atmosphere: An independent expert review on Solar Radiation Modification research and deployment. At the Sixth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly taking place in February 2024 SRM is on the agenda under the theme of Climate-Altering Techniques and Measures.
Sign the open letter call if you share this sense of urgency and believe in the need for robust governance frameworks that reflect the collective wisdom of both current and future generations. With enough signatories at the UNEA-6 we can ask global leaders to ensure that intergovernmental and other processes on SRM governance includes the perspectives of young people.