In some areas of the world, solar geoengineering can diminish rainfall, which will impact the local environment. Even though this is known, a geoengineering startup has begun releasing sulfur particles into the atmosphere in an attempt to stop ‘climate change’,
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A firm is deploying weather balloons capable of releasing reflective sulfur particles into the earth’s atmosphere, claiming to counteract climate change through solar geoengineering while ignoring the harmful implications of such acts.
Solar geoengineering seeks to change the climate by deflecting more sunlight away from the planet. The release of sulfur and other similar molecules is thought to have the capacity to chill the planet. When Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in 1991, it sent massive volumes of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, which dispersed over the world and caused a 1-degree Fahrenheit cooling for the next 15 months. Make Sunsets, a California-based firm, is thought to have launched the weather balloons from Mexico.
Make Sunsets CEO Luke Iseman told MIT Technology Review that he expects to be labeled a “Bond villain” for what the firm is doing. However, he maintains that climate change is a threat and that, because the world is moving slowly to solve the issue, a more drastic response is required.
“It’s morally wrong, in my opinion, for us not to be doing this,” Iseman said. What’s important is “to do this as quickly and safely as we can.”
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Make Sunsets is already making an effort to monetize geoengineering, a move that is expected to draw harsh condemnation. The startup is releasing particles into atmosphere to tweak the climate.
Make Sunsets is looking to monetize its efforts by selling $10 “cooling credits” for discharging a gram of particles into the atmosphere. The startup has acquired $750,000 in venture capital. It intends to increase the sulfur payload in the future, as well as use telemetry and other sensors.
David Keith, a recognized authority on solar geoengineering, explained in a blog post from 2018 why he opposes commercial work on such technologies since it will not result in the transparency and trust required for the world to make decisions on the issue.
He argued that “transparent democratic institutions” alone should carry out solar geoengineering.
“Solar geoengineering is large-scale climate modification which inherently has global consequences that are difficult to quantify even after deployment. DAC [direct air capture] results in emissions reductions (carbon-neutral synthetic fuels) or net CO2 removal (sequestration), with local impacts that can be measured with reasonable accuracy,” he wrote.
Shuchi Talati, a scholar-in-residence at American University, claims that the acts of Make Sunset could ultimately have a negative impact on scientific research, even result in funding reductions, increase requests for regulating such studies, and decrease government support for it.
“The current state of science is not good enough … to either reject, or to accept, let alone implement [solar geoengineering] … To go ahead with implementation at this stage is a very bad idea,” Janos Pasztor, executive director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative, said in an email to the media outlet.
Solar geoengineering may have catastrophic effects on people. Such initiatives might end up changing the world’s hydrological cycle, which would impact monsoon activity. Agriculture and food security may be impacted by this.
People might recklessly release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere if sunlight reflection cools the earth. The seas’ acidification can be a result of too much CO2.
Furthermore, if solar geoengineering were to abruptly end after being used for a while, it may hasten global warming by ten times.
In some areas of the world, solar geoengineering can diminish rainfall, which will impact the local environment. Tropical ecosystems and evergreen forests would be most harmed by this.
For instance, a change in rainfall may have a detrimental impact on the vegetation, which would be terrible news for the animals that depends on those plants for survival.