Researchers Create Framework for Evaluating Environmental Stopgap Measures


UCLA study offers new way to look at temporary solutions that could buy more time for our planet

Ending global environmental crises such as climate change and slowing the growing number of extinctions of plant and animal species will require radical solutions that could take centuries to implement. Meanwhile, the crises are damaging the planet and human well-being in ways that cannot wait for perfect solutions.

So academics and other environmental leaders are turning their focus to stopgap measures, which may not fully solve the bigger problems but could mitigate the damage from climate change while more complex, longer-term solutions are implemented.

A new paper in Nature Sustainability — written by 13 academics and nonprofit organization leaders, including UCLA experts in science, law and public policy — evaluates the effectiveness of such measures and recommends a framework for evaluating them.

Environmental stopgap measures could include using hatcheries to support wild salmon populations, for example, instead of fully restoring salmon habitats. Or solar geoengineering — spraying small amounts of reflective aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect away sunlight and slow global warming — instead of the larger, more complex processes of transitioning our society to be carbon-neutral and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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