Climate chaos?

The pros and cons of geoengineering


Add SO2 to the stratosphere

The plan:
Use a fleet of aeroplanes to pump sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere, where it will form aerosols that reflect sunlight straight back into space and thus cool the planet

Pros:

  • Potent: Could offset all the warming from a doubling of CO2
  • Affordable and feasible
  • We know it works – big volcanic eruptions cool the planet this way

Cons:

  • Reduces rainfall, like all sunshade schemes
  • Will alter regional climates with potentially disastrous effects, such as famines
  • Doesn’t cool poles as much as tropics, so rest of planet would have to be cooled below pre-industrial levels to stop polar ice sheets melting
  • Won’t stop ocean acidification
  • If CO2 levels continue to rise, the planet would warm rapidly if we stopped injecting SO2 into the stratosphere
  • Will make sky whiter

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