Into the dark

Mount Holyoke’s Kevin Surprise cautions that a new push to use geoengineering to darken the sky and slow global warming outstrips international agreements.

By Keely Savoie Sexton 

The idea of artificially dimming the sun to control the climate has been the stuff of dystopian fantasy for decades, if not eons, but the idea has a basis in reality. With the release of a report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, the United States recently inched closer to bringing it to fruition. 

There is sound science behind the idea of using reflective chemicals to filter out a portion of the sun’s radiation, thereby potentially mitigating the effects of greenhouse gases. However, in addition to the unknown scientific, cultural and social effects of such a move, no international law currently governs solar geoengineering. 

Kevin Surprise, visiting lecturer in environmental studies, is leery of the “U.S.-first effort,” as he referred to American efforts in a recent article in HuffPost. Surprise also spoke to Gizmodo on the topic.

“Given the way world politics are structured and ongoing geopolitical tensions, it’s a really risky gamble for the U.S. to say we’re pushing forward with this, we’re heavily invested, and we’re doing this without international consultation,” he said.

Read the article.