DSG launch press release

The Alliance for Just Deliberation on Solar Geoengineering Launches:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 17, 2023 | PDF Available

The Alliance for Just Deliberation on Solar Geoengineering (DSG), a new organization focused on the intersection of justice and governance in this emerging field, launched Monday. The organization was founded by Dr. Shuchi Talati with a mission to work towards just and inclusive deliberation on research and potential use of solar geoengineering.

Solar geoengineering is a small but growing field with recent momentum across the public, private, and academic sectors. Research efforts are expanding, press coverage is mounting, and a focus on solar geoengineering policy both domestically in the United States and globally is growing. This attention is driven by rising concerns that reducing emissions and scaling up carbon dioxide removal (CDR) will be insufficient to limit severe and worsening climate impacts for the world’s most vulnerable communities and nations. Many organizations and processes with strong influence, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine are beginning to raise discussion around these controversial proposed methods of reflecting sunlight away from the planet, which would reduce global mean temperatures.

Even though there is growing scientific attention, the policy and research space is stuck in a vicious cycle. With only the loudest and most oppositional voices heard, it is challenging to build an inclusive conversation around governance and research. There is a clear and critical need for the perspectives of climate vulnerable communities and nations to be centered in the solar geoengineering conversation as the people with the most to gain or 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. Without an effort to create pathways for civil society in climate vulnerable regions to engage in deliberation, misinformed and biased narratives will continue to dominate, the legitimacy of research will continue to be challenged, and research outcomes will be underinformed.

DSG is focused on the following core areas of work: 

Building effective, justice-centered communication around solar geoengineering

Empowering policy engagement from civil society and other policy actors in climate through capacity building

Creating connective tissue between U.S. and Global South civil society to build pathways for engagement 

Contributing to external governance processes to ensure that the principles of justice and inclusivity are centered 

Importantly, the work DSG undertakes will not be advocacy oriented (i.e. not advocating for or against solar geoengineering deployment), rather a focused effort to empower voices in climate vulnerable communities and nations to engage in solar geoengineering decision-making. Lack of inclusive decision-making and good governance can (and has) led to unilateral and uninformed action in both research and potential deployment. 

Dr. Talati was most recently Chief of Staff of the Office of Fossil Energy & Carbon Management at the U.S. Department of Energy. She left the Administration in April 2022 and spent the last year in a funded scoping period to build the substantive, outreach, and logistical foundation of the organization leading up to this launch. She has built a wide array of supporters within the climate, justice, and solar geoengineering research communities, and is actively developing relationships with NGOs, academics, and policymakers in climate vulnerable regions. Recruitment for regionally and intellectually diverse staff and advisory board members is well under way and will be announced soon. 

The launch of the organization has been applauded by many actors across the field:

“Justice considerations and the voices of those with the most to gain and lose must be centered in any investigation of solar geoengineering options. The Alliance for Just Deliberation on Solar Geoengineering is needed and important, and Dr. Talati is uniquely qualified to lead the effort.” -Simon Nicholson, director of the Center for Environment, Community, and Equity at American University

“Geoengineering is a humanitarian concern: the potential for deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system has major implications in terms of impacts on the most vulnerable. While in theory a deliberate intervention to block sunlight could help reduce impacts on some of the most vulnerable, and global power dynamics are not set up to ensure that the interests of the most vulnerable are elicited, considered, and addressed. That is why it is so crucial to support just deliberation on solar geoengineering. The new DSG team offers to create new, meaningful pathways for engagement. I look forward to supporting its work, especially regarding creative communications around the humanitarian dimensions of this rapidly changing field.” -Pablo Suarez, Innovation Lead, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

“There are significant power asymmetries when it comes to climate change and solar geoengineering, including who gets to frame climate action and how and where these conversations happen. An organization devoted to building capacity to not just participate in the existing conversation – but set the terms of new conversations – can help in centering the most vulnerable in climate action.” -Holly Jean Buck, Assistant Professor, Department of Environment and Sustainability, University of Buffalo

“This is a truly important enterprise.  Regardless of whether you think SG is good or bad, having informed engagement from the global south in these discussions is essential for an equitable and legitimate outcome. We look forward to working with DSG on this enterprise in the future.” -Billy Pizer, Vice President for Research and Policy Engagement, Resources for the Future

“DSG will fill one of the most important gaps in the exploration of  climate interventions.  The research community has a strong inclination to become inward looking, but DSG will help them to learn about the concerns and interests of those in the global south who are disproportionately impacted by climate change and may be strongly affected positively or negatively by climate intervention. This will help the research community focus on important issues and will also create an informed body in the global south better able to participate rationally in future decisions about climate intervention, be it to deploy or to eschew deployment.” -Jane Long, Former Associate Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

“Ensuring that research and policy around potential climate intervention strategies is developed in ways that are inclusive, representative and just is a key focus of advancing Ethical Principles.  The work planned by DSG is very much needed in this space”   -Billy M Williams,  EVP for Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion, American Geophysical Union

“Sound and just decisions about climate-change are impossible without the authentic participation of people from climate vulnerable communities. DSG doesn’t just invite people from those communities into existing deliberations, it invites them to help frame new deliberations. This more inclusive approach is our next best step in making progress toward climate justice and climate solutions.” – Raj Pandya, Vice President, Community Science, American Geophysical Union

In our work at C2G we heard and experienced again and again, the need for new initiatives like DSG, where informed and impartial considerations of research and governance issues related to techniques involving solar radiation modification can take place – especially by those who currently have the least capacity to do so, and the most to gain or lose from any potential reliance on such new techniques. – Janos Pasztor, Executive Director, Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative

“There is urgent need for deliberation about solar geoengineering, DSG has a wise approach address the gaps in existing process and I cannot think of a better leader than Shuchi Talati” -David Keith, Founding Faculty Director, Climate Systems Engineering Initiative, University of Chicago

“If the world is to make informed and equitable decisions about SRM, it’s going to need much broader conversation and more involvement from the Global South – and that requires research, community-building, and outreach. The launch of DSG is a welcome development and we look forward to future cooperation between the Degrees Initiative and DSG” – Andy Parker, CEO, The Degrees Initiative

For press inquiries, please contact hello@sgdeliberation.org