Science 3 min read

New Study Claims That Plan to Dim the Sun is Possible and Safe

Andrzej Puchta /

Andrzej Puchta /

A new study conducted by researchers from Harvard University reveals that the plan to dim the sun could actually work. The team originally proposed to curb the harmful effects of climate change through solar geoengineering.

The Harvard scientists suggest that injecting aerosol chemicals into the Earth’s atmosphere would decrease global temperatures. However, the proposed geoengineering technique was widely opposed by environmental activists because it also poses certain dangers to the planet.

Taking into consideration the potentially hazardous effects of solar geoengineering to Earth, the Harvard researchers believe they have found a solution.

According to the team’s study, injecting the right amount of aerosol or reflective specks into the atmosphere is safe and would be enough to halve the rate of our planet’s warming.

David Keith, a physicist from Harvard University, explained:

“Some of the problems identified in earlier studies where solar geoengineering offset all warming are examples of the old adage that the dose makes the poison. Big uncertainties remain, but climate models suggest that geoengineering could enable surprisingly uniform benefits.”

‘Dim the Sun’

In a paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers reported that they simulated a scenario wherein atmospheric CO2 emissions were doubled, and solar geoengineering was used to reduce the temperature increase.

The results suggest that utilizing a moderated geoengineering strategy would help cool the planet without aggravating the current climate conditions in the majority of Earth regions. Meaning, the technique would not produce extreme weather conditions like heavy rainfall or hurricanes.

The scientists further said that around 85 percent of the increase in hurricane intensities would be offset by solar geoengineering and that less than 0.4 percent of iceless lands would experience aggravated climate stresses.

Peter Irvine, the first author of the study from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said:

“Previous work had assumed that solar geoengineering would inevitably lead to winners and losers with some regions suffering greater harms; our work challenges this assumption. We find a large reduction in climate risk overall without significantly greater risks to any region.”

However, despite the positive results of their simulations, the researchers emphasized that the fundamental solution to climate change is the reduction of carbon emissions and not solar geoengineering.

“I am not saying we know it works and we should do it now. Indeed, I would absolutely oppose deployment now… there’s lots of uncertainty.”

~ David Keith, Physicist, Harvard University

Read More: Scientists To Start Solar Geoengineering Experiment

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