“The steps urged in the report to protect the interests of poorer countries — for example, accounting for farmers in South Asia whose lives could be upended by changes in rain patterns — could fall away once the research begins, according to Prakash Kashwan, a professor of political science at the University of Connecticut.
“Once these kinds of projects get into the political process, the scientists who are adding all of these qualifiers, and all of these cautionary notes, aren’t in control,” Dr. Kashwan said.
Jennie Stephens, director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, said that geoengineering research takes money and attention from the core problem, which is cutting emissions and helping vulnerable communities cope with the climate disruptions that are already happening.
“We need to double down on bigger transformative changes,” Dr. Stephens said. “That’s where the investment needs to be.”