Security of solar radiation management geoengineering

Abstract

Solar Radiation Management (SRM) geoengineering is a proposed response to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) (National Academy of Sciences, 2015). There may be profound – even violent – disagreement on preferred temperature. SRM disruption risks dangerous temperature rise (termination shock). Concentrating on aircraft-delivered Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI), we appraise threats to SRM and defense methodologies. Civil protest and minor cyberattacks are almost inevitable but are manageable (unless state-sponsored). Overt military attacks are more disruptive, but unlikely – although superpowers’ symbolic overt attacks may deter SRM. Unattributable attacks are likely, and mandate use of widely-available weapons. Risks from unsophisticated weapons are therefore higher. An extended supply chain is more vulnerable than a secure airbase – necessitating supply-chain hardening. Recommendations to improve SRM resilience include heterogeneous operations from diverse, secure, well-stocked bases (possibly ocean islands or aircraft carriers); and avoidance of single-point-of-failure risks (e.g. balloons). A distributed, civilian-operated system offers an alternative strategy. A multilateral, consensual SRM approach reduces likely attack triggers.

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Lockley, A. Security of solar radiation management geoengineering. Front. Eng. Manag. 6, 102–116 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42524-019-0008-5

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Keywords

  • security
  • geoengineering
  • solar radiation management
  • SRM