How solar geoengineering could hijack climate action

Feb 14, 2019, 7:06 AM EST
(Source: Oregon State University/flickr)
(Source: Oregon State University/flickr)

The website of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center runs a disquieting white paper that warns of a dystopian future where “highly decentralized nonstate actors” could run amok with unregulated technologies, such as solar geoengineering, hijacking efforts against climate change and even breeding conflicts between nations.

The paper visualizes a scenario in 2050, a year that has followed a decade of droughts, crop failures and famines, claiming millions of lives across the world.

What would be in store is even more worrying as the catastrophic developments prompt individual groups or humanitarian organizations to mobilize individuals through social media, crowdfunding sites and blockchain to launch high-altitude balloons, loaded with heat reflecting particles, writes MIT Technology Review.

Rejecting the thought as a pulp fiction would be easier had the kits of unmanned high-altitude balloons not been already available in the markets for as little as $25. Such decentralized solar geoengineering could also be trialed by a nation in isolation, which has political implications to the tunes of inciting military clashes, notes Belfer Center.