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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.
“Developing countries must lead on solar geo-engineering research,” the researchers wrote in a commentary published on April 3 in Nature. “The overall idea (of solar geo-engineering) is pretty crazy but it is gradually taking root in the world of research,”
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, a co-founder of Facebook, and his wife, Cari Tuna, they wrote.
Among proposed ideas, planes might spray clouds of reflective sulphur particles high in the Earth’s atmosphere. “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,” they wrote.
A U.N. panel of climate experts, in a leaked draft of a report about global warming due for publication in October, is sceptical about solar geo-engineering, saying it may be ”economically, socially and institutionally infeasible.” Among risks, the draft obtained by Reuters says 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.
The world is set for a warming of three degrees Celsius or more above pre-industrial times.
far above a goal of keeping a rise in temperatures “well below” 2C under the 2015 Paris Agreement among almost 200 nations.>
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