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Our Axios Voices conversation on geoengineering.

The Paris climate agreement and some nations, including the U.S, recognize certain geoengineering projects as potentially legitimate, but the legal status of technologies to deflect the sun's radiation is wholly undefined despite carrying geopolitical and moral risks.

Why it matters: Solar radiation management, in which the sun's light is reflected by mirrors or particles deployed in the atmosphere, could have terrible environmental and societal consequences. It could be weaponized and lead to conflict between nations. Even if the risks are overblown, merely talking about and conducting research into geoengineering may weaken support for limiting emissions via renewable energy and conservation, methods we know work. When geoengineering is presented to people as a potential solution to climate change, their support for mitigation measures falls.

Bottom line: We need responsible communication. Even if solar radiation management never becomes a physical reality, how it is portrayed by scientists, governments, and corporations could have a profound effect on how the world addresses climate change.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.

4 hours ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.