UN urged to explore geoengineering opportunities to cool the planet shutterstock

UN urged to explore geoengineering opportunities to cool the planet

Katerina Belousova

Currently, solar geoengineering technology is effectively banned

Switzerland has submitted a proposal to the UN Environmental Assembly on the possibility of creating an expert group to study the risks, benefits and ambiguities of solar geoengineering (SRM) technology.

The country has initiated a global discussion on the study of artificial solar eclipse technology to reduce global warming, The Guardian reports.

The assembly will begin in Kenya at the end of February.

It is noted that this technology is poorly understood and can potentially negatively affect the Earth's ozone layer. After all, it simulates the effect of a large volcanic eruption – filling the atmosphere with sulfur dioxide particles that reflect some of the sun's heat and light back into space.

Switzerland is proposing that the UN collect information on current SRM research and create an advisory group that could propose future options.

Proponents of the proposal, including the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), argue that research is necessary to ensure multilateral oversight of new planet-changing technologies. Otherwise, powerful governments or billionaires could test such technologies uncontrollably.

The article said that, according to representatives of the American startup Make Sunsets, they had already conducted tests in Mexico.

However, critics argue that such a discussion would threaten the current ban on geoengineering and could lead to its legalization. In particular, they fear that the use of solar geoengineering may negatively affect the reduction of carbon emissions and the planet's ozone layer.

“Switzerland's aim in submitting the proposal was to ensure that all governments and relevant stakeholders are informed about SRM technologies, in particular the possible risks and transboundary implications. The intention was not to promote or activate solar geoengineering, but to inform governments, especially in developing countries, about what is happening," emphasized Swiss Environment Ambassador Felix Wörthli.

UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen emphasized the importance of a global conversation on SRM in her opening address to delegates at the previous meeting in Nairobi. She and her colleagues emphasized that the move was more of a cautionary tale than an endorsement of the technology.

It is noted that Switzerland proposed to consider the issue of SRM in 2019, but the topic was blocked by the US and Saudi Arabia. Previously, this technology was funded by the fossil fuel industry. However, in recent years, some opinion leaders, including actors, philanthropists, financiers and high-tech entrepreneurs, have begun to support it.

Werthley emphasized that in 2024 the SRM debate has advanced and the technology is ready to be discussed.

Earlier, EcoPolitic wrote, that research by scientists from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands, showed that the critical current system of the Atlantic Ocean (AMOC) is under threat and may stop, which will lead to catastrophic climate changes worldwide.

Previously, EcoPolitic analyzed the features of geoengineering technology. According to some scientists, the technology will allow to "buy time" for a fair green transition.

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