May 23, 2021

Could blocking the sun save the planet?

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, particle physics, sustainability

As the need for urgent climate solutions grows, scientists want to put more research into a technology known as solar geoengineering — the idea of chemically altering the atmosphere to reflect sunlight away from Earth.

It is seen as a potential method of cooling the planet and offsetting climate change. But could such a technology curtail a climate catastrophe — or become the cause of it?

Those against solar geoengineering fear unintended consequences, including irreversible changes to weather patterns, and many climate activists are wary of using the Earth’s atmosphere as a testing ground. Last month in Sweden, an experiment led by Harvard University researchers was cancelled following opposition by environmental and indigenous groups. Researchers had planned on testing a high-altitude balloon that could be used to disperse reflective aerosol particles into the atmosphere.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll learn more about solar geoengineering and the debate surrounding it.

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