Scientists are proposing an unproven way to tackle climate change by spraying sun-dimming chemicals into the Earth’s atmosphere.
A technique known as stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) could cut the rate of global warming in half, they say.
The research was led by scientists at Harvard and Yale universities and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
The idea would involve spraying large amounts of sulphate particles into the Earth’s lower stratosphere at altitudes as high as 12 miles.
The scientists say they will deliver the sulphates with specially designed high-altitude aircraft, balloons or large naval-style guns.
The report does, however, acknowledge that the technique is purely hypothetical right now.
There is no existing technology or aircraft suitable for adaptation but the team say the system could be created in 15 years time.
They say they are ‘developing a new, purpose-built tanker with ‘substantial payload capabilities’ and would neither be ‘technologically difficult nor prohibitively expensive.’
The cost of launching the SAI system is estimated at £2.7 billion ($3.5 bn) with running costs of £1.7 billion ($2.25 bn) a year.
‘We make no judgment about the desirability of SAI,’ the report states.
‘We simply show that a hypothetical deployment program commencing 15 years hence, while both highly uncertain and ambitious, would indeed be technically possible from an engineering perspective. It would also be remarkably inexpensive.’
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