Anti-SRM Arguments
and Responses

As explained in this statement, social rulers have rejected global cooling and SRM, thereby threatening the ecological survival of the global young.  This profoundly unethical stance is underpinned by numerous falsehoods and distortions.  The most common of these are listed below, followed by responses that reflect the young's existential plight.

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  1. SRM is unnecessary because radical emissions reductions will suffice

FALSE.   Emissions are additions: they raise GHG concentration levels, thereby increasing the temperature anomaly and prolonging global warming.  (For details see "Six Reasons to Reject the Emissions-reductions Story".)  What the young need for survival is precisely the opposite: rapid global cooling.

  1. SRM poses a "moral hazard"

MISLEADING.  This term refers to diminished incentives for emissions reductions if SRM is deployed.  However, these reductions fail to achieve global cooling (see #1 above), so this "hazard" is irrelevant.

  1. SRM will permit the fossil-fuel industry to carry on with business-as-usual

MISLEADING.  The assumption is that capitalism will continue, hence capitalist incentives will continue to apply.  However, as noted in this youth strategy statement, the system is blatantly ecocidal and must be quickly replaced by a sustainable economy.  In this post-capitalist context, modified corporate incentives would encourage ecologically responsible behavior, and strict laws would enforce it.

  1. SRM lacks global governance

MISLEADING.  Global governance is highly desirable under non-emergency conditions, but its full implementation would be far too slow for today's urgent and existential crisis.  SRM deployment must instead be based on the principles of global justice and intergenerational equity, which can be immediately applied by any responsible entity.  Intergenerational equity was strongly supported by UNESCO in 1997:

"The present generations have the responsibility to bequeath to future generations an Earth which will not one day be irreversibly damaged by human activity. Each generation inheriting the Earth temporarily should take care to use natural resources reasonably and ensure that life is not prejudiced by harmful modifications of the ecosystems …"

It is deeply alarming that the 2017 UNESCO declaration on the ethical principles of climate change severely dilutes the 1997 statement by omitting this commitment to young people and future humankind.

  1. SRM perpetuates an unsustainable and unjust economic system

MISLEADING.  As noted above, the survival strategy is to historically supersede capitalism, not to prolong it.

  1. SRM perpetuates the industrial model of development

MISLEADING.  The current model of development is capitalist, not industrial.  Industrial methods are used to implement the system's economic logic, but do not constitute this logic itself.  In a sustainable economy a radically different set of principles would be applied.  For an overview see chapter 7 in Youth Ecological Revolution. 

  1. SRM is an excuse for inaction

FALSE.  SRM is intended to be the first step in revolutionary change, which includes the full implementation of the rational crisis response.  The social forces that might use this excuse will no longer have political power, state control, or corporate domination.

  1. SRM is a "techno-fix"

FALSE.  According to Wikipedia, this term refers to, "… the idea that all problems can find solutions in better and new technologies. It now is used as a dismissive phrase to describe cheap, quick fixes by using inappropriate technologies; these fixes often create more problems than they solve or give people a sense that they have solved the problem."

This is no way reflects how SRM would be applied for youth survival.  SRM as a technological measure is exclusively intended to reduce the global temperature anomaly for survival.  It will be only the first step in a lengthy process of revolutionary change, which will replace capitalism with a sustainable economy and transform capitalist societies.

  1. The risks of SRM outweigh its potential benefits

HIGHLY UNLIKELY.   Given the massive damage from today's temperature anomaly and the imminence of calamitous tipping points, the benefits from global cooling will almost certainly exceed the risks of prudent SRM.  This is particularly true for the precarious Global South.

  1. SRM doesn't address the root physical cause of the climate crisis

MISLEADING.  SRM is intended to cool the Earth for human survival so that the root physical cause - unsafe GHG concentrations - can eventually be tackled.  This objection is frequently used to identify emissions as the root physical cause in order to support the false emissions-reductions story. 

  1. SRM doesn't address the root social cause of the climate crisis

MISLEADING.  The root social cause is the over-expansion of the global capitalist economy.  However, critics rarely identify the system by name and never seek to replace it.  They therefore have no interest in actually addressing this cause.

  1. SRM is a violation of Mother Earth

FALSE.  On the contrary, SRM is required to help reverse centuries of such violations by capitalist forces.  It is absurd to suggest that this massive damage can be undone by anything but massive counter-measures.  "Hands Off Mother Earth!" is a stirring but irrational slogan. 

  1. SRM technologies are speculative, hypothetical, underdeveloped, etc.

MISLEADING.  SRM has long been the subject of a devastating taboo that has severely limited funding for basic research and technology development.  Even discussing the topic was for many years hazardous to academic careers.  This taboo was somewhat relaxed after Paul Crutzen's 2006 essay on stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), but the mainstream's disapproval remains, and the field has lost decades of irreplaceable R&D time.

  1. SRM poses the risk of termination shock

TRUE BUT MANAGEABLE.  If SRM masks an increasing temperature anomaly as GHG concentrations rise, then suddenly halting it will cause a rapid temperature jump.  This paper, which focused on SAI, concluded that the risk of this occurring can be significantly reduced.  Among the approaches considered were masking only part of the anomaly, phasing out SAI gradually if this were necessary, increasing the robustness of SAI infrastructure through geographical dispersion, and restarting the cooling process within a few months after its cessation.

  1. SRM will increase global injustice

HIGHLY UNLIKELY.  The largely agricultural Global South depends on a stable environment, which is being rapidly undermined by a warming Earth.  This is especially true because warmer regions have higher humidity, which exacerbates weather instability.  In addition, the poorer countries start with higher temperatures than the rich world, have weaker housing and other infrastructure, and have fewer resources for rebuilding.  Given these factors, there is little doubt that the ethical deployment of SRM would sharply decrease global injustice.

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