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Solar geoengineering: Switzerland wants to launch a debate on dimming sunlight

Solar geoengineering: Switzerland wants to launch a debate on dimming sunlight

Is it possible to darken the sun using particles and stop global warming?


Is solar geoengineering the solution to global warming? This will be discussed at the UN climate meeting next week. Opponents fear that this will open the door to this method.

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

How can global warming be slowed or even stopped? Like the British “guardian” According to reports, Switzerland is currently starting a global discussion on the subject of sun dimming. This proposal is scheduled to be discussed at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi next week.

A UN team of experts is said to be expected to study the risks, benefits and uncertainties associated with darkening the sun. So-called solar geoengineering has an impact on food supplies, 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 leave room for governments and billionaires

What do supporters of this proposal say? They point out that research in this field is necessary so that these technologies can be monitored. Otherwise they will be developed and tested by powerful governments or billionaires.

And the opposition? She fears this discussion will undermine the current ban on geoengineering.

The aim is to inform all governments and key interest groups about the technology and its risks, Felix Fertli, the Swiss representative to the UN Environment Assembly, tells The Guardian. Switzerland does not intend to encourage geoengineering.

Inger Andersson, director of the UN General Assembly, says a global discussion is important. But this does not mean that the technology is supported.

Environmental organizations are concerned about the latest developments. There is a real risk that commissioning a report could undermine an effective moratorium on geoengineering, says Mary Church of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).

She adds: “There are areas that the international community has rightly decided are simply taboo, such as eugenics, human cloning, and chemical weapons.”

“It would be more problematic if we didn't discuss it.”

It is said that external tests were actually conducted in Mexico, after which the Mexican government banned such experiments on its territory.

In 2022, about 500 scientists signed a call to reach an agreement to no longer use solar geoengineering.

“I know people think this potentially creates a space in which these technologies can be supported, but I also think it would be more problematic if we didn't discuss it,” says Andrea Henwood, chief scientist at the United Nations Assembly.

It is uncertain how the Swiss proposal will be received in Nairobi. Senegal, which was originally a participant in the initiative, has since withdrawn. Many other countries have expressed doubts. African countries insisted on the non-use condition.

Switzerland wanted to start a discussion on this topic as early as 2019, but was unsuccessful. “This time you can see that people are ready to discuss because the discussion has progressed,” Wertley says. “It was widely recognized during the opening debate that more research and information is needed. “This is new and shows that the decision meets the need.”