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This May Seem Like A Bad Idea But Harvard Scientists Are Releasing Sun-Dimming Sky Chemical in 2019

A very old idea to face the disastrous foretold effects of climate change is to release a compound into the stratosphere of the Earth that would reduce the energy of sun reaching to Earth by reflecting it into space. Just last week, a new study projected that a sunlight-dimming system could cost as little as $2 billion dollars per year.

Now, in a first-of-its-kind experimentation, scientists from Harvard are in process of releasing calcium carbonate into the stratosphere in 2019. A trial on a very small-scale will be performed to provide vital data about the possible risks and rewards of a larger-scale geoengineering effort.

According to Nature, the Harvard experiment will be executed at a very small scale. The scientists will send a control able balloon up into the stratosphere of Earth, where it’ll release nearly 100 grams of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is a very active component in antacids. It is an appealing contender for geoengineering efforts because simulations studied so far show that it can exist in the air for years as it reflects sunlight.

After discharging the calcium carbonate, the balloon will use a laser imaging system to observe how the particles scatter — data the scientists can use to understand how greater quantities of the substance might perform.

Critics are already saying that geoengineering efforts are Band-Aid solutions that hide the indications of climate change instead of the cause: global carbon emissions. Jim Thomas, the co-executive director of an environmental advocacy organization called the ETC Group, told Nature that he fears the Harvard project could push the concept of geoengineering into the mainstream.

But advocates say that anything that could buy some extra time in the face of looming climate catastrophe is worth exploring.

“I’m studying a chemical substance,” Harvard researcher Zhen Dai told Nature. “It’s not like it’s a nuclear bomb.”

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