April 15, 2024

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Solar geoengineering: Switzerland wants to debate dimming the sun

Solar geoengineering: Switzerland wants to debate dimming the sun
Can we use particles to darken the sun and stop global warming?

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Is solar geoengineering the solution to global warming? Next week, the UN will discuss this. Climate will be discussed at the meeting. Opponents fear this opens the door to the system.

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  • The Earth is getting warmer and warmer: one way to mitigate this process is through solar geoengineering.
  • The particles are distributed in the atmosphere – comparable to a volcanic eruption. These reflect the sun's heat and light back into space.
  • This geoengineering will be discussed at next week's climate conference in Nairobi. That is what the Swiss delegation wants. She received a lot of criticism for this.

How can global warming be slowed down or stopped? Like the British “Guardian” Switzerland has now started a global debate on the topic of solar eclipse. The proposal will be discussed at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi next week.

A United Nations panel of experts is expected to examine the risks, benefits and uncertainties of solar eclipses. So-called solar geoengineering has implications for food supply, biodiversity and global security.

The underlying technology aims to mimic the effect of a large volcanic eruption. To do this, the atmosphere is filled with sulfur dioxide particles. These reflect some of the sun's heat and light back into space.

Do not cede the field to governments and billionaires

What are supporters of the plan saying? They point out that research in this area is necessary so that monitoring of such technologies is possible. Otherwise they are created and controlled by powerful governments or billionaires.

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And the opposition? He fears the debate could undermine the current ban on geoengineering.

Felix Wertli, the Swiss representative to the UN Environment Council, tells the Guardian that all governments and key interest groups need to be informed about the technology and its risks. It is not Switzerland's mission to develop geoengineering.

UN Council Director Inger Andersen also says global debate is important. But this does not mean that the technology is supported.

Environmental organizations are concerned about recent developments. Mary Church of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) says there is a real risk that commissioning a report will undermine the de facto ban on geoengineering.

“There are areas that the international community has rightly decided are off limits, such as eugenics, human cloning and chemical weapons,” he continues.

“It's more complicated if we don't discuss it.”

External raids have reportedly already taken place in Mexico, after which the Mexican government banned such raids on its territory.

By 2022, about 500 scientists had signed an appeal for an agreement not to use solar geoengineering.

“I know people think it's creating a space that can support these technologies, but I think it's too complicated if we don't discuss it,” says Andrea Hinwood, the UN chief scientist.

It is uncertain how the Swiss proposal will be received in Nairobi. Senegal, originally a co-initiator, has withdrawn. Many other countries have expressed skepticism. And African countries emphasized the need for non-use.

Switzerland wanted to start a debate on this topic as early as 2019, but it failed. “You can see that people are willing to debate because the debate has progressed this time,” says Werdley. “It was widely recognized during the opening debate that more research and information is needed. This is new and shows that the resolution fills a need.

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