Climate Intervention

The National Academy of Sciences draws a distinction between geoengineering and “climate intervention” we feel is valuable. They define geoengineering as a broad range of activities beyond and including climate that implies a greater level of precision and control than might be possible. Climate intervention, on the other hand, is applied to an action intended to improve the climate situation.1 We agree with this distinction and use the latter to describe our work, rather than applying the label of “geoengineering”.

Surface albedo modification (SAM) is a form of surface radiation management that seeks to counteract the absorption of thermal radiation by the atmosphere (greenhouse effect) with increased surface reflection of solar radiation at the surface. The objective of SAM is to make small, controlled and localized changes to the environment and take advantage of climate feedback loops to minimize the disruptions.

It is apparent that most climate intervention approaches suggested as solutions to the global climate challenge are potentially risky. Thorough research is necessary in order to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of these technologies. Hollow glass microspheres may be able to temporarily and reversibly increase sunlight reflected in limited, specific Arctic areas with significant global benefits and minimal risk. 

We created our Scientific Advisory Board in order to assure that the Arctic Ice Project is taking the correct precautions and measures in our research. The board includes several prominent Arctic scientists, and has endorsed the need for prudent research into these technologies as a science-based climate solution. The impacts of climate change are quickly mounting and will continue to accelerate due to feedback effects. Our team and Scientific Advisory Board hope we are able to solve climate change with decarbonization alone, but we need to prepare for the worst. The world is looking at the very real possibility of a future where our intervention could be crucial to protecting the planet as we know it. 

National Research Council 2015. Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Policy and Governance

Arctic ice restoration depends not only on technological breakthroughs but on the willingness of and collaboration with Indigenous Arctic communities, nations and multinational organizations to implement ice restoration solutions. In parallel with our evaluation and development of engineering solutions to Arctic ice melt, we are developing a global network of climate restoration leaders to collaboratively chart the pathway for adopting climate restoration technologies.

We will invest in policy research to develop a blueprint for adoption of our technologies so that the multinational framework for adoption is ready when the technology is ready for deployment.