New plane can show geoengineering works

(Eco Business, 27 Nov 2018) With new aircraft, humans could potentially mimic volcanic action, dim the sunlight and slow global warming, showing that geoengineering works. It’s a controversial idea.

Nobody knows for sure whether we shall ever see if geoengineering works. But now somebody knows how to do it.

Engineers have designed an aircraft that could lift a cargo of sulphur dioxide to an altitude of 20 kilometres and spray it into the stratosphere to darken the skies, dim the sunlight and damp down climate change driven by emissions from factory chimneys, power stations and vehicle exhausts.

The aircraft – already dubbed SAIL, or the stratospheric aerosol injection lofter, could cost no more than $2.35 billion a year for airframe and engine, and the first eight could be rolling down the runway 15 years from now to begin flying 4,000 missions a year.

By the end of another 15 years, a fleet of 100 high-flying sulphate dumpsters could be in business, making 60,000 high altitude deliveries a year to combat global warming.

US scientists report in the journal Environmental Research Letters that they addressed the costs and practicalities of what is certainly the most-frequently invoked and hotly disputed form of climate engineering on a global scale.

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Eco Business, 27 Nov 2018: New plane can show geoengineering works