Sustaining the arctic in order to sustain the global climate system

Daniel Bodansky, Rafe Pomerance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The unraveling of the Arctic is bad enough for the Arctic itself, but it will have enormous consequences for the entire planet since the Arctic is a crucial component of the global climate system. Current policies do not provide much hope to prevent these harms. We have committed the earth to too much warming to take a step-by-step approach. We have entered a period of history when planetary management has become unavoidable and must move forward on many fronts simultaneously. Key components of a multiprong approach include decarbonization, focus on short-lived climate forcers, greenhouse gas removal, adaptation, Arctic interventions, and solar climate intervention. This article discusses the last option, which may be the only means of cooling the earth quickly enough to save Arctic ice and permafrost. Scientific research is essential to better understand its feasibility, effectiveness, and safety. However, research is not enough; we need to be ready to respond right away if Arctic or global temperatures need to be lowered quickly. This means we need significant technology research and development so that solar climate intervention technologies are deployment-ready in the relatively near future, perhaps in a decade or two, and could be used should the need arise and should research show that they are effective and safe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10622
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Arctic
  • Climate engineering
  • Climate intervention
  • Solar radiation management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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