Researchers' project: Stop sunlight and save the planet

Climate change by Olof Svensson December 4 2019 23: 31 MADRID. Two hundred years ago, the earth experienced a year without summer. Researchers are now asking whether this can be a key to solving the climate crisis. “The idea is that humans consciously change the sun’s reflections by bringing aerosols into the atmosphere,” says Harvard researcher David Keith. It sounds like a science fiction movie. Prevent parts of the sun’s rays from reaching the atmosphere and in doing so keep global warming down. But a research group at the American university Harvad believes that it is technically possible to carry out already today. Right now they are working on an experiment where they hope to lift a balloon and release calcium carbonate into the atmosphere. The research area is called “Solar geoengineering” and is very controversial. When Aftonbladet interviews Professor David Keith, one of the Harvard researchers involved, he hardly wants to talk about it. – It gets too much attention. There are newspaper headlines that say “Harvard scientists are trying to block the sun”. It’s just nonsense. We do experiments that measure how aerosols react in the stratosphere. We’re talking about putting out less than a pound. Even the biggest critics don’t think it’s a risk, he says. 1 of 2 | Photo: SCoPEx project The researchers want to raise a balloon and release calcium carbonate into the atmosphere. Can prevent climate crisesThe purpose of the experiment is to investigate how the aerosols (particles) form in the atmosphere. If it is released on a larger scale, global warming could be dampened. However, David Keith emphasizes that in order to cope with the climate crisis, emissions in the world must be reduced to zero. Geoengineering should definitely not be seen as a substitute. – But there is evidence from climate models that if you reduce emissions and use some geoengineering, it can prevent climate crises. In a lecture for the think tank IIEA, posted on Youtube, David Keith explains how it could work. Starting 2025, you send about five custom-built aircraft that release a smaller amount of aerosols into the stratosphere. Each year the dose is increased, after ten years it is at 100 000 ton per year. 2060 aircraft 60 release aerosols from two different bases in the world. The particles stay in the atmosphere for a year and reflect away sunlight so that global warming is kept down. Big risksBut there are problems and Keith David calls himself a big skeptic. – I can give you a great list of risks. You can destroy the ozone layer, the upper stratosphere can heat up, there is a risk to human health if the particles get further down into the atmosphere. I could go on for an hour, he says. There are also ethical aspects. Who should be responsible for the project? Who should monitor it and who should fund it? Climate organizations emphasize that geoengineering could be a pretext for companies or states to stop reducing their emissions. The criticism has meant that there has been little research on geoengineering, but in recent years it has begun to change. According to David Keith, there is more knowledge today, but it is far from sufficient. – I want a serious international research project. To really understand in detail how this works, how it should be monitored and how it should be handled. Want to see international researchWhen we have come so far that it can be used on a larger scale? – The question presupposes that there is a “we”. That’s not how the world works. There is no world government. That’s why it’s hard to say when. What may happen is that some countries begin, perhaps not in years, but in decades. What do you want to say to those who are critical? – I am a critic myself. I’ve been a critic for as long as I’ve been working on this, for twenty years. What I am saying is that we should have an international research project. Research for the next generationThere are also strong voices against researching geoengineering on a larger scale. The international climate action network belongs to the critics. David Keith has a hard time understanding why. – Our generation will not make the decision to begin this. But my opinion is that research can provide information to the next generation so that they can make better decisions. People are researching things that they do not sign politically. People work to supply heroin addiction with needles so that they do not get diseases. It’s not because they think heroin is good. December 4 2019 23: 31
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