modeling calibrated estimations crowdsourcing precise futures predicting contingent understanding modeling predictive contingencies crowdsourcing intelligent insights mapping the future predicting critical futures exploring contingent understanding forecasting critical predictions generating intelligent understanding computing critical contingencies generating contingent predictions forecasting precise forecasts calculating precise wisdom


Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

Will large scale solar radiation management be used to mitigate the effects of climate change in the 21st century?

From Wikipedia,

Solar radiation management (SRM) proposals are a type of climate engineering which would seek to reflect sunlight and thus reduce global warming. Proposed methods include increasing the planetary albedo, for example using stratospheric sulfate aerosols. Restorative methods have been proposed regarding the protection of natural heat reflectors like sea ice, snow and glaciers with engineering projects. [...]

Solar radiation management has certain advantages relative to emissions cuts, adaptation, and carbon dioxide removal. Its effect of counteracting climate change would be experienced very rapidly, on the order of months after implementation, whereas the effects of emissions cuts and carbon dioxide removal are delayed because the climate change that they prevent is itself delayed. Some proposed solar radiation management techniques are expected to have very low direct financial costs of implementation, relative to the expected costs of both unabated climate change and aggressive mitigation.

There remain risks, however. The most commonly cited risk is that people may be less likely support reducing carbon emissions if they knew temperatures were being adequately managed via other means. Since carbon emissions still cause ocean acidification, among other effects, we may prefer to reduce emissions instead. Another commonly cited reason for not using solar radiation management is that the effects are difficult to predict, though this claim is disputed. There is also a risk of a "termination shock" whereupon the discontinuation of solar radiation management, the Earth rapidly resumes its previous climate path, which could be hazardous.

There are many proposed types of solar radiation management: statospheric aerosol injection, marine cloud brightening, ocean sulfur cycle enhancement, literally painting surfaces with white colors and developing space mirrors to deflect solar radiation.

Will large scale solar radiation management be used to mitigate the effects of climate chage in the 21st century?

Given the multitude of approaches, an exact operationalization for large scale solar radiation management is difficult. While I could simply write a long disjunction of the above approaches, I have instead opted for this definition:

Large scale solar radiation management is said to be used to mitigate the effects of climate change in the 21st century if yearly average atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are above 600 parts per million at the start of 2101, and yet the Earth's mean surface temperatures are less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline (as defined and reported by a reliable institution). This question resolves ambiguously in case there is some significant natural event that reduced mean surface temperatures, such as an unexpected reduction in solar radiation. Metaculus moderates use their discretion when resolving ambiguously.


Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

Metaculus help: Community Stats

Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.

Embed this question

You can use the below code snippet to embed this question on your own webpage. Feel free to change the height and width to suit your needs.