We are delighted to report that Professor Stephen Gardiner (University of Washington) will be a visiting Professor at the Reading Centre for Climate and Justice in 2019 and 2020. Professor Gardiner will make two six week long visits to the University of Reading, twelve months apart. A grant from the Leverhulme Trust will enable Professor Catriona McKinnon and Professor Gardiner to collaborate on projects focused on the ethics of Solar Radiation Management (SRM).
SRM is a form of geoengineering which is defined by the Royal Society as ‘the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change’. SRM techniques tackle the warming effects of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the extent to which the Earth absorbs solar radiation, thus cooling the planet. There are a variety of SRM techniques on the table at present: placing massive mirrors in space to reflect the sun’s rays away from Earth; increasing the albedo of the planet by painting roofs and other structures white; genetically modifying plant life to make its surfaces more reflective of sunlight; brightening marine clouds (with seawater, or nano particles); and – probably most prominent – injecting sulphur dioxide particles into the stratosphere.
Professor Gardiner and Professor McKinnon’s joint work will focus on questions of intergenerational justice and ethics that are raised by SRM. This work promotes two research themes within the Centre for Climate and Justice: New Technologies, and Climate Justice Over Time.