Abstract

Technologies for Solar Radiation Management (SRM) could limit global warming by manipulating the Earth’s radiation balance. A major objection to SRM is the termination problem: the catastrophic consequences that are likely to result from its sudden discontinuation. The termination problem limits the reversibility of policy choices and poses the risk of inadvertent or enforced program collapse. It is often considered a major impediment to the governability of SRM. In a first attempt to systematically engage with the question of institutional design for resolving the termination problem, the scenarios in which the termination problem arises as well as their respective drivers are identified. Scenarios and drivers are then used to derive institutional solutions in the form of excludable benefits, scientific oversight and phase-out mechanisms. While other objections to SRM may remain valid, it is concluded that the termination problem raises fewer challenges for international governance than is usually assumed.

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