US scientists launch world’s biggest solar geoengineering study
US scientists are set to send aerosol injections 20km up into the earth’s stratosphere in the world’s biggest solar geoengineering programme to date, to study the potential of a future tech-fix for global warming.
The $20m (£16m) Harvard University project will launch within weeks and aims to establish whether the technology can safely simulate the atmospheric cooling effects of a volcanic eruption, if a last ditch bid to halt climate change is one day needed.
Scientists hope to complete two small-scale dispersals of first water and then calcium carbonate particles by 2022. Future tests could involve seeding the sky with aluminium oxide – or even diamonds.
“This is not the first or the only university study,” said Gernot Wagner, the project’s co-founder, “but it is most certainly the largest, and the most comprehensive.”
Et la réponse des leaders du projet.
Friday’s Guardian article implied that the experiment is funded by Bill Gates, but it is not. Gates will in future likely fund the interdisciplinary solar geoengineering research program at Harvard, but his funding will amount to less than 40% of the total, and this experiment is not funded by him. Other funders already include the Hewlett foundation, itself among the largest funders of climate research and advocacy. (Our public forum this past Friday, in turn, was funded by the Sloan foundation.) It is possible that the broader programme will end up supporting the experiment in later years, but at least through the first flights, the experiment is funded by internal Harvard research funds given to new professors.