American Geophysical Union urges research programs on climate intervention to better understand the risks and opportunities

AGU updates its position statement on climate intervention and issues a related white paper on the topic.

18 January 2018


WASHINGTON, DC— The American Geophysical Union (AGU) today announced a revision and reaffirmation of its position statement, “Climate Intervention Requires Enhanced Research, Consideration of Societal and Environmental Impacts, and Policy Development.”

The statement was updated to reflect changes in the current understanding of climate intervention approaches, notably updating “geoengineering solutions” to “climate intervention” and discussing the two distinct categories of climate intervention: carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and albedo modification (AM).

Further, AGU affirms its endorsement of more substantial CDR and AM research programs to examine these strategies in more detail, including programs outlined by the U.S. National Academies.

“We know the climate is changing, humans are responsible for most of the increase in temperature over the past half century, and that emissions reductions must play a key role in policy moving forward.” said David Victor, Ph.D., chair of the Climate Intervention Position Statement Task Force for AGU. “Climate intervention could play a key role in managing the effects of climate change but our scientific understanding of its impacts remains poor.  More research to understand it’s full risks and opportunities will be vital to a more informed public policy.”

The nine-person panel that reviewed and revised the position statement included:

  • David Victor, University of California San Diego and Brookings Institution (chair)
  • Ken Caldeira, Carnegie Institution for Science
  • Piers Forster, University of Leeds
  • Ben Kravitz, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Marcia McNutt, National Academy of Sciences
  • Joyce Penner, University of Michigan
  • Alan Robock, Rutgers University
  • Naomi Vaughan, University of East Anglia
  • Jennifer Wilcox, Colorado School of Mines

AGU maintains position statements to provide scientific expertise on significant policy issues related to the understanding and application of their members’ scientific disciplines.

The revised position statement was adopted by AGU’s Board of Directors on 12 January 2018. The statement is based on AGU’s previous geoengineering statement adopted on 13 December 2009 in collaboration with the American Meteorological Society (AMS) statement which was adopted by AMS Council on 20 July 2009. AGU revised and reaffirmed that original statement in February 2012. Learn more about AGU position statements.

 ###

 The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. Join the conversation on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and our other social media channels.


Notes for Journalists

If you would like to speak to someone about AGU’s position statement and climate intervention, a subject matter expert from the task force will be available for comment. Members of the press should contact AGU’s Strategic Communications to schedule an interview.

Please note that panel members’ affiliations are provided for identification purposes only. The position statement reflects a consensus view of AGU and not necessarily any of the panel members’ employers.


AGU Contact:

Caitlyn Camacho
202-777-7423
ccamacho@agu.org