A startup founded in October says it has launched weather balloons containing particles of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere in an attempt to artificially manipulate the climate.
Make Sunsets co-founder and CEO Luke Iseman told MIT Technology Review that he expects critics will portray him “like the Bond villain” for what the site called “geoengineering activism.” Meanwhile, the White House is funding its own five-year research plan into geoengineering, a highly controversial proposal to reverse climate change.
According to Make Sunset’s website, which lists answers to frequently asked questions including “Isn’t geoengineering wrong?” and “I would like you to stop doing this,” the company has already launched “clouds” with sulfur dioxide, an aerosol that could reflect radiation from the sun back into space.
But spraying sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere directly puts Earth and humanity at risk by disrupting the ozone layer, potentially leading to acid rain and causing respiratory disease.
“The current state of science is not good enough” to implement solar geoengineering, executive director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative Janos Pasztor told MIT Technology Review.