News ID: 212614
Published: 0614 GMT April 04, 2018

Developing nations to study ways to dim sunshine, slow warming

Developing nations to study ways to dim sunshine, slow warming
Houses on stilts are seen as the Sun sets around the Manila bay in Philippines, February 5, 2015.

Scientists in developing nations plan to step up research into dimming sunshine to curb climate change, hoping to judge if a man-made chemical sunshade would be less risky than a harmful rise in global temperatures.

Research into ‘solar geo-engineering’, which would mimic big volcanic eruptions that can cool the Earth by masking the sun with a veil of ash, is now dominated by rich nations and universities such as Harvard and Oxford, reported.

Twelve scholars, from countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Jamaica and Thailand, wrote in the journal Nature that the poor were most vulnerable to global warming and should be more involved.

They wrote in a commentary, “Developing countries must lead on solar geo-engineering research.”

Lead author Atiq Rahman, head of the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies, said, “The overall idea (of solar geo-engineering) is pretty crazy but it is gradually taking root in the world of research.”

A co-founder of Facebook, and his wife, Cari Tuna, they wrote, “The solar geo-engineering studies would be helped by a new $400,000 fund from the Open Philanthropy Project, a foundation backed by Dustin Moskovitz.”

Andy Parker, a coauthor and project director of the Solar Radiation Management Governance Initiative, said, “The fund could help scientists in developing nations study regional impacts of solar geo-engineering such as on droughts, floods or monsoons.”

Rahman said the academics were not taking sides about whether geo-engineering would work.

Among proposed ideas, planes might spray clouds of reflective sulfur particles high in the Earth’s atmosphere.

They wrote, “The technique is controversial, and rightly so. It is too early to know what its effects would be: It could be very helpful or very harmful.”

A UN panel of climate experts, in a leaked draft of a report about global warming due for publication in October, is skeptical about solar geo-engineering, saying it may be economically, socially and institutionally infeasible.

Among risks, the draft obtained by Reuters said it might disrupt weather patterns, could be hard to stop once started, and might discourage countries from making a promised switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energies.

Still, Rahman said most developed nations had ‘abysmally failed’ so far in their pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, making radical options to limit warming more attractive.

The world is set for a warming of 3°C or more above pre-industrial times, he said, far above a goal of keeping a rise in temperatures well below 2°C under the 2015 Paris Agreement among almost 200 nations.


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