Friday, February 26, 2021
Home Tech A first-of-its-kind geoengineering experiment is about to take its first step

A first-of-its-kind geoengineering experiment is about to take its first step

Since it’s the one software that would make any actual distinction to international temperatures inside the interval of a political time period, it might turn into an extremely seductive possibility in nations struggling by lethal warmth waves, droughts, famines, fires, or floods. Using it with out adequate analysis can be “very dangerous,” Keutsch says.

Harvard professor Frank Keutsch, principal investigator of SCoPEx.

ELIZA GRINNELL, HARVARD SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCE

“People think that because I’m doing geoengineering research I sort of want to do geoengineering,” he says. “My view is actually very strongly that I seriously hope we’ll never get in a situation where this actually has to be done, because I still think this is a very scary concept and something will go wrong.”

“But at the same time, I think better understanding what the risks may be is very important,” he provides. “And I think for the direct research I’m most interested in, if there is a type of material that can significantly reduce risks, I do think we should know about this.”

Oversight

The crew initially hoped to start balloon flights as early as 2018 in Tucson, Arizona, and subsequently explored plans in New Mexico. They opted to transfer the first effort to Sweden due to “COVID-19 and other logistical and scheduling challenges,” in accordance to the challenge website.

Part of the delay was due to the Keutsch crew’s choice to arrange an unbiased committee to consider the moral and authorized impacts of their proposed experiments. They didn’t have to have one, because the analysis effort has no federal funding. (Indeed, when the challenge started, there was no US federal funding for geoengineering analysis. The challenge runs on inside Harvard cash and donations from people and teams together with Bill Gates, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and others.)

But Jane Long, a former affiliate director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, strongly really useful that an exterior assessment committee be created. (She additionally helped decide its chairperson.) “It was important for the future of this technology that they’re not seen as bad scientists running off to do some experiment without any review,” she says.

Long stresses that the experiments, as first proposed, are very small scale and unlikely to current well being or environmental risks. But the board, she says, forces the researchers to articulate what the work is for and to handle public issues.

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