The Alliance for Just Deliberation on Solar Geoengineering (DSG) is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, launched in April 2023. DSG was created around a mission to work towards just and inclusive deliberation about research and potential use of solar geoengineering.
Importantly, DSG is not advocacy oriented (i.e. not advocating for or against solar geoengineering deployment). Rather, it focuses on empowering civil society and other policy actors to engage in solar geoengineering policy and decision-making. Take a closer look at our mission and principles.
Why do this work?
The state of climate impacts on human systems are growing in severity. The IPCC sixth assessment report indicates that climate change has had adverse impacts on water and food security, public health, infrastructure, and across economic sectors. These impacts are significantly worsening across many regions, especially in the Global South.
Solar geoengineering is a small but growing field with recent momentum across the public, private, and academic sectors. Research efforts are expanding, there has been a significant increase in focus on solar geoengineering policy both domestically in the United States and globally, and press coverage is mounting. This attention is driven by rising concerns that reducing emissions and scaling up carbon dioxide removal will be insufficient to limit severe and worsening climate impacts. Many processes and organizations with strong influence, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) are beginning to raise discussion around these controversial proposed methods of reflecting sunlight away from the planet. In its recent 2023 report, UNEP is now calling for more just and inclusive deliberation on this technology.
NASEM stated in their 2021 report, “broader and more inclusive engagement could contribute to greater justice and legitimacy for research and research governance, and help avoid the perception that [solar geoengineering] may be developed solely by one party or a small number of parties without international input or cooperation, further exacerbating climate-related inequities.” The 2023 UNEP report found that “research and deployment decisions require an equitable, transparent, diverse and inclusive discussion of the underpinning science, impacts, risks, uncertainties and governance”, and that this “process would need to involve discussion with, and more research from, all stakeholders as most from the global south are not sufficiently engaged in current discussions.”
Even though there is growing scientific attention and calls for further inclusion are clear, the policy and research space is stuck in a vicious cycle. Right now, the contentious nature of the field is the main driver of how solar geoengineering is perceived. With only the loudest and most oppositional voices heard, it is challenging to build a legitimate discourse around governance and research.
As a result, U.S. and international environmental NGOs have largely been unable or unwilling to find pathways to productively engage, leaving the space empty of constructive civil society voices – a key sector to both building policy and holding governments accountable. With this lack of widespread involvement, the existing narratives lead to Global North actors in academia and a small group of organizations speaking on behalf of climate vulnerable communities and nations in the Global South.
There is a clear and critical need for the perspectives of climate vulnerable communities and nations to be centered in the solar geoengineering conversation. These are the populations with most to gain or most to lose from solar geoengineering knowledge and research efforts. The need for input from a diversity of voices is widely acknowledged across the actors in the space, yet there is little focus on how to meaningfully do so. The ability to engage in international forums on this topic is only possible through an informed set of participants, including both policymakers and civil society organizations.
There is a narrow window of opportunity to engage with these difficult realities and push for change. In the current moment, many organizations give occasional lip service to inclusion and justice, but this field requires an organization that is committed to this as part of its foundational mission. DSG will especially focus on procedural justice, which refers to fairness in decisionmaking and resource allocation.
The Dsg vision
In the future, DSG is working toward a more globally participatory and inclusive governance system for solar geoengineering research and potential deployment. Such a system will enable informed climate vulnerable and historically marginalized communities to be engaged in decisionmaking processes that have representative voices across sectors.
Our work is supported by the following funders:
Astera Institute, LAD Climate Fund, Open Philanthropy, Incite, Grantham Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Larsen Lam Climate Foundation.