Geoengineering Experiments Will Test Public Opinion of Dimming the Sun

Researchers plan the first sun dimming geoengineering experiments to spray particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight in order to lower earth’s temperature. The idea is simple and several decades old: spray a bunch of stuff into the stratosphere, and it will cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back into space.

The science of these experiments doesn’t really matter, as this is really about testing the public’s opinion and response in preparation for large scale geoengineering. The team involved in the experiment has reported that they have not experienced any protests or direct opposition to their work.

Researchers have restricted this kind of experiment to computer models because of the obvious concern that dimming the Sun could backfire. These kinds of experiments could strongly disadvantage some areas of the world, they could rob crops of sunlight and shift weather patterns globally.

This will be the first experiment in the world to move solar geoengineering into the stratosphere, the project is called the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx). The first phase could launch as early as the first half of 2019.



Image Adapted From: “Earth” by Kevin Gill is licensed under CC BY 2.0 and “gitter” by Jo Naylor is licensed under CC BY 2.0