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Not such a bright idea: cooling the Earth by reflecting sunlight back to space is a dangerous distraction

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The United Nations Environment Assembly recently debated a resolution on solar radiation modification, a set of geoengineering technologies aimed at combating climate change by reflecting sunlight back to space
• Despite its potential to limit climate change effects, the proposal was withdrawn due to lack of consensus, amidst concerns over its unpredictable impacts and risks of further destabilizing the climate

🔭 The context: Solar geoengineering, including stratospheric aerosol injection and marine cloud brightening, has been promoted as a solution to climate change
• However, such interventions pose significant risks, including unpredictable climate and weather patterns, biodiversity loss, and undermining food security, without addressing the root causes of climate change

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: These technologies could lead to altered rainfall patterns, increased salinity damaging agriculture, and exacerbate acid rainfall, among other environmental impacts
• They also risk infringing on human rights across generations by passing on huge, irreversible risks

⏭️ What's next: The controversy and lack of consensus highlight the global community's hesitancy to adopt potentially risky geoengineering solutions
• Instead, there's a growing call for a "non-use agreement" on solar radiation modification, emphasizing the need to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to sustainable energy sources

📈 One stat: Over 500 scientists from 61 countries have signed an open letter calling for an international non-use agreement on solar geoengineering

Click for more news covering the latest on environmental sustainability

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