Climate intervention and remediation is a new field of research, including physical and natural sciences as well as social science and humanities, born in response to the imminent threat of human-induced climate change. It involves research into the purposeful management of the global climate should societal efforts to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions ultimately fail or come too late. The presentations, plenary sessions, and small group discussions filled 12-hour days, covering a range of subjects including approaches for potentially counter-balancing at least some aspects of human-induced climate change, the legal and societal issues raised by research needed to verify the approaches, and public perception of climate change.
In addition, there were constructive specific discussions on how to counter-balance warming, changes in precipitation, and other consequences of the ongoing emission of greenhouse gases and on the variety of approaches for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and to sequester or store it in the ocean or the land. Participants aired doubts and fears about how research could be governed and proceed and emphasized the need for transparency and consideration of all issues from local to global perspectives. Robert Socolow, Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University said, "What will happen when we get an unambiguous signal of a climate emergency? We are not ready." He urged the group to start with "the best traditions of the scientific method," and then to push beyond to ensure that all climate intervention or remediation research be considered, measured and iterative, including discussion with those outside of the research community.
Such sentiments inspired Paul Craig, a member of the Sierra Club's National Energy Committee and Professor Emeritus of Engineering at the University of California at Davis, to observe, "I came here expecting to see a bunch of engineering types proposing to engineer the planet. But instead I saw a different conversation in which the word 'humility' actually appeared in slides. I'm leaving with a very different view of the way that these attendees are thinking about geoengineering."
The SOC Statement indicates in part, "The fact that humanity's efforts to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases (mitigation) have been limited to date is a cause of deep concern. Additionally, uncertainties in the response of the climate system to increased greenhouse gases leave open the possibility of very large future changes. It is thus important to initiate further research in all relevant disciplines to better understand and communicate whether additional strategies to moderate future climate change are, or are not, viable, appropriate and ethical. Such strategies, which could be employed in addition to the primary strategy of mitigation, include climate intervention methods (solar radiation management) and climate remediation methods (carbon dioxide removal).