When Mount Pinatubo erupted in 2001, so much sulphur was blown into the sky that it blanketed much of the world, dimming the sun’s rays and causing temperatures to drop 0.6 degrees Celsius below average for 15 months.
Scientists have long been trying to find out if humans scattering similar particles high into the atmosphere, in a more controlled process generally termed solar geoengineering, could help to contain global warming.
The stakes seem ever higher, with the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) warning that global warming, unless rapidly halted, will result in irreversible changes to human and natural systems, and immense suffering for humanity.
That makes solar geoengineering, seen by the scientific community as a last-ditch option that involves dimming the sun instead of reducing greenhouse gases, a more appealing tool to use in the fight against climate change.
Or, any efforts to develop the nascent technology should be halted, and the sooner the better – depending on who you ask.