This week, a new study in Nature Climate Change bolstered the case for solar radiation management by spreading sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere in order to lower the earth’s thermostat.
There are reasonable concerns with this strategy. One of them has been that blocking enough solar radiation to bring down surface temperatures to around where they were at the beginning of the 20th century would greatly destabilize weather patterns. For instance, it could change the timing and extent of monsoon rains, thus harming ecosystems and farming.
Diehard environmentalist ideologues, on the other hand, have feared that it would work. Consequently, they have been adamantly opposing geoengineering experiments aiming to figure out how to moderate the planet’s rising temperature. As Rutgers University environmental scientist Alan Robock has observed: “If humans perceive an easy technological fix to global warming that allows for ‘business as usual,’ gathering the national (particularly in the United States and China) and international will to change consumption patterns and energy infrastructure will be even more difficult.”
[Ronald Bailey, “New Research Suggests Solar Geoengineering Could Safely Lower Global Temperatures,” Reason, May 15]