Luke Iseman, a former Y Combinator hardware director and co-founder of a geoengineering startup, said he added a few grams of sulfur dioxide to a pair of weather balloons and launched them from an unspecified location somewhere in the Mexican peninsula last spring. deleted them. He said he intended to have the balloon reach the stratosphere and explode under the pressure there, releasing the particles into the open air.
Scientists believe that spraying sufficient quantities of sulfur dioxide or other reflective particles into the stratosphere may be able to offset some of the global warming, mimicking the cooling effects of major volcanic eruptions in the past. But this is contentious territory, given the unknowns of potential side effects, and fears that even discussing that possibility would undercut the urgency of addressing the root causes of climate change, and the conundrum of how to manage a technology capable of modulating it. Earth’s temperature, but could have very different regional effects.
Eastman acknowledges MIT Technology Review, and other outlets reported on the effort, he did not seek scientific or government approval before advancing the balloon launch. He then co-founded the startup Make Sunsets to commercialize the concept. The company previously said it had raised about $750,000 in venture capital and planned to sell “cooling credits” for the particles released during future balloon launches.
But on January 13, the Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources Announce The government will prohibit and, where appropriate, cease any solar geoengineering experiments in the country. The agency noted that Make Sunset’s launch took place without notice or consent. It said the ban was motivated by the risks of geoengineering, the lack of an international agreement to monitor such efforts, and the need to protect communities and the environment.
Mexico may have been one of the first, if not This First, an explicit ban on experimentation was declared, although many countries have existing environmental regulations and other policies that may limit certain practices. It wasn’t clear from the statement that all research in the field, which could also include modeling and laboratory work, would be banned. The release also said Mexico would cease any large-scale solar geoengineering practices, which could mean large-scale experiments or full-scale deployment of the technology.
Representatives of the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry and the Baja California state government could not immediately be reached for comment.
“on indefinite hold”
Eastman did not respond to MIT Technology Review’s inquiries, he told edge Future launches are “on hold indefinitely.”he Say He told the Wall Street Journal that he was “surprised by the speed and scope of the response” and “looks forward and hopes to have a conversation.”
But others were not surprised. Shuchi Talati, a scholar-in-residence at American University who is forming a nonprofit focused on solar geoengineering governance and justice, warned in an original MIT Technology Review article that Make Sunsets’ actions could have a chilling effect on the field.Unauthorized efforts could undermine government support for geoengineering research and expand request limit experiment.