Mexico’s Secretariat for the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) last week established a ban on all solar geoengineering experiments in the country’s territory. The decision was taken after the American startup Make Sunsets carried out tests in the state of Baja California without prior notice to the authorities and the local community.
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Although scientists, activists and the media call for urgency in combating climate change, solar geoengineering is still a controversial way to take on this confrontation. His techniques propose increasing the reflection of sunlight back into space as a way to cool the Earth. One way to do this is to release sulfur dioxide particles into the atmosphere.
The startup Make Sunsets launched two balloons with the substance that divides opinions in the last year. Although there are those who believe in its potential, there are serious concerns about the consequences of this technique – it is not known how it can affect rainfall patterns, agriculture and even public health.
The CEO and founder of the startup, Luke Iseman, was disappointed with the decision. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he says that he “hoped there would be dialogue.” His plan was to sell credits to US companies as compensation for their carbon emissions. Each gram of sulfur dioxide released was valued at 10 dollars and the amount — says the startup’s website, without citing references — offsets a ton of CO2 in the atmosphere in a year.
In an official statement, Semarnat declares that the decision is based on studies that showed meteorological disturbances associated with solar geoengineering and on a UN decision from 2010. Although it does not prohibit it, the international body discourages the implementation of these technologies. At the time, Mexico was one of the signatories of the decision, while the United States was against it.
In 2022, the White House declared that it has a plan to assess the feasibility of solar geoengineering. Lasting five years, their research aims to investigate the benefits and side effects, which scientists agree are cause for concern.
Source: Futurism, Semarnat