Recently, a start-up company called Make Sunsets has begun releasing chemicals into the stratosphere as a form of geoengineering that is intended to help climate change. However, many are very hesitant about the startup and the result of what they are doing.
For perspective, geoengineering is when chemical particles are released into the stratosphere to manipulate the weather or climate. The theory is that when sulfur is released into the atmosphere that it mimics a natural process that occurs after volcanoes and that by doing this intentionally, we could ease global warming.
While it isn’t difficult to do this, it is very controversial. The reason for this is that it could potentially have dangerous side effects. Additionally, because some regions could endure worse side effects, it could cause issues across international lines.
Many scientists have already come out and condemned the efforts of the startup, because they are already moving forward in doing this, without consulting global efforts. Some even speculate that Make Sunsets isn’t a legitimate scientific effort, but more so of an attention grab. Luke Iseman, the co-founder, and CEO of the startup does acknowledge that it is partially a provocation.
It’s his hope that in shaking things up that he will force the attention of the global public toward the possibilities of geoengineering. “It’s morally wrong, in my opinion, for us not to be doing this,” he says. What’s important is “to do this as quickly and safely as we can.”
However, others have said that science just isn’t there yet. “The current state of science is not good enough … to either reject or to accept, let alone implement,” wrote Janos Pasztor, an executive director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative. “The current state of science is not good enough … to either reject or to accept, let alone implement” he added.
Despite these opinions, the startup has claimed to have sent balloons into the stratosphere with sulfur and is taking money in return for credits. David Keith, a leading expert, says that the material in question isn’t very much, but he is still troubled by the fact that geoengineering is being commercialized.