A new report from the UN was just published. It proposes and discusses ways to cool our planet by restricting sunlight and darkening our skies.
What is this about? Why darken the skies, of all things? Let me explain.
The UN is worried about climate change. As the efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are faltering, the UN is looking for more ways to cool our planet. The UNEP’s report details ideas called “Solar Radiation Modification,” the gist of which is to reflect sunlight and prevent it from heating the surface of our planet.
Here are the main ideas that the UN will consider:
- Injecting reflective nanoparticles/sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere (stratospheric aerosol injection)
- Brightening of low clouds over the ocean by seeding ocean clouds with submicron salt particles
- Using space mirrors, that is, many giant mirrors launched into outer space to reflect sunlight.
The UN explains that should the “global stakeholders” decide to proceed, the skies could be darkened within only a few years:
SRM is the only option that could cool the planet within years. To be effective at limiting global warming, SRM would need to be maintained for several decades to centuries, depending on the pace of emissions reductions and carbon removal.
The report does pay lip service to what is undeniable:
- This is an untested planetary intervention
- There could be disparate effects on certain regions
However, you and I can guess we should not expect a careful, conservative review of such proposals by the UN if the “Covid vaccine” experience is any guide.
Injecting Sulfur Dioxide Into the Sky Was Bad for Us – Now It is Good Again
This picture introduces us to the sky-dimming technology being considered:
The report explains:
Major volcanic eruptions, which introduce large amounts of sulphate particles into the stratosphere, provide a natural analogue for SRM deployment (Figure 4). For example, the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption21 caused global annual-mean cooling of about 0.3–0.5°C in the following two years22. An SAI deployment would inject aerosols continuously into the stratosphere. It is estimated that continuous injection rates of 8–16 Tg of sulphur dioxide (SO2) per year (approximately equivalent to the estimated injection amount of Mount Pinatubo in the single year of 1991) would reduce global mean temperature by 1°C. An operational SAI deployment could be scaled up to produce global cooling of 2–5°C, albeit with diminishing returns at higher rates of injections.
You are probably not a chemist, and neither am I. However, sulfur dioxide was a free byproduct of coal and oil burning, emitted into the atmosphere until recent decades. Environmental activists and authorities concluded that sulfur dioxide was a pollutant gas that contributes to the production of acid rain and causes significant health problems.
Having been assured that sulfur dioxide was bad for us, we spent billions of dollars eliminating it from coal and oil-burning emissions and building sulfur-capture technology.
Now, it turns out that sulfur dioxide is good for us, and we need to spend even more untold billions to inject it into the atmosphere.
Does this sound stupid to you?
I am sure, however, that investors will earn quite a bit of money from “sulfur dioxide atmospheric injections” right after making billions on “eliminating sulfur dioxide emissions” from coal-burning plants.
Volcano Eruptions Were the Nature’s Experiments
The UN document correctly indicates that volcanic eruptions sometimes fill the skies with ash or sulfur, darken the skies for years, and lead to measurable global cooling episodes. The example listed in the report is the above-mentioned Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991, which temporarily cooled our planet by 0.5 degrees C.
However, much darker pages of human history were associated with volcanoes causing catastrophic climate changes.
For example, in 1600, the eruption of the Huaynaputina in Peru caused famines in Europe and less to mass deaths.
In Russia, 1601-1603 brought the worst famine in the country’s history, leading to the overthrow of the reigning tsar. Records from Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia record exceptionally cold winters in 1600-1602; in France, the 1601 wine harvest was late, and wine production collapsed in Germany and colonial Peru. In China, peach trees bloomed late, and Lake Suwa in Japan had one of its earliest freezing dates in 500 years.
So, such global cooling projects may indeed cause global cooling at the cost of poisoning the atmosphere, causing acid rain, and leading to the collapse of agriculture in several regions of the world.
These are not immediately-actionable plans, yet. In some ways, the UN report is exploratory. Nobody is building giant sulfur-dioxide-injecting smokestacks or is launching mirrors into space, as of now.