JAN 20, 2022 2:00 PM PST

Experts Say: Don't Dim the Sun to Fight Climate Change

WRITTEN BY: Matthew Lundy

In a Perspective piece published this week in WIREs Climate Change, an international team of experts have decried solar geoengineering – the process of affecting or limiting incoming sunlight to change the Earth’s climate – and called on governments from around the world to sign on to an “International Non-Use Agreement.” The journal article is paired with an open letter signed by 63 named experts, consisting largely of professors and researchers.   

Solar geoengineering is a potential method of combating climate change and global warming. Many of the harmful effects of climate change, such as increased drought and lower crop yields, are a result of increasing global temperatures. In an effort to limit these effects, solar geoengineering projects, such as “the injection of aerosols in the stratosphere” to take an example from the article, would limit the amount of sunlight that enters our atmosphere. This lower amount of sunlight would cause global temperatures to decrease because the major source of heat on Earth is sunlight.

The researchers behind the article and open letter are calling for an international agreement rejecting the use and proliferation of this kind of project. The article justifies this stance by citing various concerns with the potential technology and subsequent governance. Scientific concerns include worries about unintended effects of altering such a fundamental aspect of our planet. The authors state that such worries could persist even with more research, asserting that “…there is deep-seated disagreement about whether the risks and effectiveness of solar geoengineering could ever be fully understood before deployment…”  

The authors also sound alarm over the implausibility of proper international governing of solar inhibitors, which could impact every nation on the planet; they “see the deployment of solar geoengineering as impossible to govern fairly and effectively in the current international political system.”

The Perspective piece presents yet another worry in the minimization of tested and reliable means of mitigating climate change, such as eliminating our current carbon emissions, in light of the possibility of future adaptation strategies, like solar geoengineering. While more research could bring about a more manageable alternative to current ideas of solar geoengineering, such a future unknown cannot justify a lack of climate action now.

 

Source: WIREs Climate Change

About the Author
MSc in Science Communication, BS in Astrophysics and Philosophy
Science communicator passionate about physics, space, and our, unfortunately, changing climate; exploring the universe through written word and the occasional video.
You May Also Like
FEB 18, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
European Research Facility Breaks Record for Most Fusion Energy Produced
FEB 18, 2022
European Research Facility Breaks Record for Most Fusion Energy Produced
JET, the largest tokamak in the world, has set a record for fusion energy.   Researchers from the EUROfusion consor ...
FEB 25, 2022
Earth & The Environment
High Temperatures Send More People to the ER for Mental Health Emergencies
FEB 25, 2022
High Temperatures Send More People to the ER for Mental Health Emergencies
High summer temperatures take a toll on the human body. Heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and dehydration are often caused by ...
MAR 08, 2022
Plants & Animals
Merian, Dorrien, and Colden: Three 18th Century Women Scientists Who Helped Found the Field of Taxonomy
MAR 08, 2022
Merian, Dorrien, and Colden: Three 18th Century Women Scientists Who Helped Found the Field of Taxonomy
Three 18th c. women scientists, Maria Sibylla Merian, Catharina Dorrien, and Jane Colden, helped found taxonomy but are ...
APR 18, 2022
Plants & Animals
Some Fish Species Can Count
APR 18, 2022
Some Fish Species Can Count
If someone asked you if fish could count, your response would probably be… probably not? Counting seems like an a ...
MAY 01, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Plastic-eating enzyme could prevent plastic waste world domination
MAY 01, 2022
Plastic-eating enzyme could prevent plastic waste world domination
Plastics are a part of our everyday lives, from food containers to soda bottles to soap dispensers to the life-saving ve ...
MAY 18, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Landslides can have a major impact on glacier melt and movement
MAY 18, 2022
Landslides can have a major impact on glacier melt and movement
When we think of glaciers, horrifying images of them receding into the water because of climate change immediately come ...
Loading Comments...