152 Comments
Mar 6Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Sorry for suggesting a bit cynical approach, but this is just how our societies work.

If this is called "geoengineering" then it will provoke massive protests and legislators will implement paralysis through analysis.

Instead, we should implement this as a minor side effect of an economical activity. Let's say that we would have "stratosphere tourism (for the rich) that emits just a fraction of a percent of SO2 compared to shipping". That would be such a minor issue that nobody would care.

I mean burning fossil fuels, space tourism, flying by plane, emitting gigantic amounts of SO2 by ships, modern massive agriculture etc are all massive acts of geoengineering but as they have not been positioned as such then no-one cares about the geoengineering consecuences.

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author

This is extremely clever

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Mar 5Liked by Tomas Pueyo

One thing I would suggest is a PR campaign (your article is a great start!) to explain this to the developed countries population (especially United States). Get ahead of all the naysayers & people who are profiting from the current approaches. Maybe get 60 Minutes to do a story, or even better Fox News!

Stress that this is a temporary measure to help us transition to a lower CO2 world, and that we can scale it up in a measured way to make sure there are no unforeseen impacts.

Love the article.

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author

Indeed it starts with articles like this one! And by people like you sharing them!

Share it with Fox producers!

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Mar 6Liked by Tomas Pueyo

pls make this reach elon musk. He is a crazy tester. Perhaps an interview with tucker carlson and the make sunset team will be good, too.

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Mar 21Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Perhaps a small packet of SO2 could be ‘accidentally’ released at 20.5km with every launch of SpaceX…

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author

I like the thinking.

Cargo is too valuable in these rockets. But Musk could accidentally release it from his yacht, 20 km away from the coast…

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author

Send this to him! Post it on Twitter!

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fox news would never touch this for a number of reasons. 1. the fossil fuel industry are likely anti solar geoengineering, the logic is that srm if it was widely known about that we're in such a terrible situation that serious people are seriously considering doing it, that'd surely speed the death of the ff industry considerably. 2. fox knows their audience are all into chemtrail conspiracies and wouldnt want to ruffle their feathers that way 3. fox knows that their audience dont even accept that climate change is happening and is man made, why would they want to present a solution for something that their audience doesnt believe exists. 4 fox news knows their audience are all anti science anti intellect halfwits. theyre not going to do a deep dive on something complex and nuanced like this. 5. now i think of it fox did make a very brief and very simplistic expose on solar geoengineering i think it was probably a segment on a lesser watched part of the show, it definitely wasnt prime time, and unsurprisingly they presented it in a completely negative light.

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It would be such a non-cost for the fossil fuel companies to just release SO2 into the stratosphere to offset the CO2 effects and keep doing the same business without the hustle of the climate change doomsday prophets. Only downturn would be that it's somehow admitting the negative effects of the fossil fuel. But then do it hidden through some other companies. Just erase the arguments.

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Apr 7Liked by Tomas Pueyo

the only problem with that is that all and i mean ALL of the scientists working on solar geoengineering say that we need to cut co2 emissions and that using solar geoengineering to mask ever increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere walks us into a more and more dangerous and unpredictable world. for instance at a certain co2 concentration we lose cloud decks and then its all over no matter how much solar geoengineering you do. also solar geoengineering does nothing for ocean acidification so without a doubt solar geoengineering does not change anything about the need to stop using the atmosphere as a sewer

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Everybody agrees we should reduce CO2!

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Apr 9·edited Apr 9

Hi Tomas. let me share something that might be of great interest as a fellow srm enthusiast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91YPA4PEkdc in this video they mention twice that "the planes are being built" but they dont elaborate beyond that..... i mean the subject is stratospheric aerosol injection so presumably they mean a prototype of the plane that's needed for that. they say it once at 55:25 and again at 1:02:13 and this is a talk hosted by janos pasztor. he's not gonna host people who dont know what they're talking about. so i found this very interesting as i have heard that nowhere else, and i follow all news srm very closely, if the first planes for this job are being built i would think that massive news but i havent heard it in any other article or video. i have tried reaching out to the people in question, but you never hear back from these folks. anyway so i was wondering do you know anything about this?

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This is 1-2 orders of magnitude more expensive than balloons. Ain’t gonna happen.

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author

Maybe they should

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yes we probably will need to to some extent. we're too far gone

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I essentially agree with everything in this article up to the "Termination Shock" heading, and start disagreeing more and more from there. I agree that stratospheric sulfur SRM is potentially very useful, that governments should encourage research on it, that academics are too cautious about advocating for deployment, and that the rapid growth of renewables makes the "moral hazard" argument nigh-on ridiculous. However, I think one big problem is suggested by to noting that we can use sulfur SRM to "fine-tune" rain patterns: this could very easily be used as a "weather weapon" in economic and/or political conflicts (China already has a track record of smaller-scale silver iodide rain-seeding interventions). I also really, really, really doubt that the Make Sunsets group is the way to go on this (no personal slight to the folks there intended): a few balloons is multiple orders of magnitude away from anything that will move the needle, and asking individuals to pay to scale it up, especially with a "cooling credits" or "offset" selling point, brings to mind the grift-ridden history of carbon credits. I suspect that skipping the "building institutional trust and social license to operate" stage just makes your operation likely to be shut down before it gets anywhere. As Kim Stanley Robinson said in my interview with him recently, this seems a bit like "the physical form of a bad cryptocurrency."

That said, I hope I'm wrong and y'all do manage to pull off a crowdsourced SRM initiative!

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author

Maybe you're right

I think the faster way to learn is by doing, so this is what we're achieving here

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I think your best (maybe only?) shot at gaining social license to operate (slash-credibility in the global marketplace of ideas) in time to scale up enough to make a difference would be to partner with an island country at imminent risk of losing territory to sea level rise, as you suggested. Very different optics/"vibes"/likely legal-political-social outcomes to "Kiribati bravely trying something unprecedented to not go gentle into that good night, with international help" versus "wildcatting American startup commodifying universe's only known habitable atmosphere for profit."

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Mar 5·edited Mar 5Author

Agreed, this is why I quote Kiribati and tell any politician to reach out if interested.

Europe should be on this because the AMOC overturning could reduce northern Europe’s temperatures by 10-30°C

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founding
Mar 7·edited Mar 7

Have a glance on what Rökstenen, one if the most remarkable runestones from viking age located near Mjölby in mid-Sweden has on this topic of temp drop in Northern Europe:

http://futhark-journal.com/rok/

"The sun is having a shield."

It was deciphered in 2020 only. I stood before it in 2011.

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I do very much appreciate your can-do attitude and out-of-the-box thinking: human civilization needs more of that!

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Mar 5Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Whilst SO2 is purported to do as you say, it is not addressing the cause, only some of the symptoms and can only ever be a short term, stop gap solution to help us potentially avoid tipping points. Sadly, it doesn't help and could arguably make things worse, when you consider ocean acidification.

Also, we could see an increase in asthma and emphysema issues for people with those conditions.

But all things needs to be considered.

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Correct! These are all addressed in the article. It's not a perfect solution, because perfect doesn't exist. It's as good as it gets! As a stop-gap solution

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Yes because he's focusing on the downsides, not the balance of upsides and downsides.

It will kill tens of thousands, and save millions

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Mar 5Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Great article. Really interesting solution. Thank you also for the discount at Make Sunsets. I'm buying cooling credits from them today!

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author

The more people do like you, the closer we will be to a solution!

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Mar 21Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Thanks Tomas!

I had paid Making Sunsets some months back when you first mentioned it but at £9/gram I was put off. I have now used your terrific discount to buy a subscription and a largish initial order.

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Ah I am so glad to hear! Make Sunsets’ revenue is starting to lift up! Hopefully we can help them become self-sustaining.

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Assuming all this is accurate:

- no known material 'cons'

- a current *cost* of $0.28/gram SO2 (not price, which you point out is $10/g)

- 1g of SO2 to balance out one ton of CO2 (a cost of $0.28/ton of CO2)

- the current world production of 37b tons of CO2 (and rising...)

Then this all looks incredibly cost-effective. $0.28 x 37b tons = ±$10b variable cost (not price).

I appreciate that there must be an operating margin - currently their $10 price is 35X their variable cost per gram, but you also suggest that switching from Helium to Hydrogen at scale will reduce variable costs by a factor of 1000, so this still looks cost-effective at scale.

Have I got this math right?

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Mostly! with a couple of very important caveats:

1. The cost can be divided by 1000x! It will go from 28c per gram to 28c per KILOgram. I go into the details in the premium article this week.

2. The CO2 ACCUMULATES, but SO2 does not. So first you want to offset the 2 Tt of CO2 we’ve emitted, and then add the annual 40Gt you mention

The combination of these 2 factors gives you the $800M/y

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Thanks. I see the 1000X reduction with the He to H change. I'd love to see the math on $800M.

Ignoring an offset (for now) for the 2Tt and just targeting maintaining steady-state at current costs, it still seems like a bargain at a cost (not price) of $10b.

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Premium article this week!

It’s even more of a bargain!

😂😂

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Mar 5Liked by Tomas Pueyo

I would like to see it tried full scale for a year or two with lots of measuring buoys/devices to record the effects. Probably easier in that regard if the government is the Overseer to bring in all it's resources like NOAA to help.

Then we take a year or two off and see what happens. If effects are minimal then we can continue the program full bore.

Also, would the olivine ocean treatment help with acidification?

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author

Agreed! Let's do that.

But for that the government needs to want this. The best way to force it is to see citizen support, and making Make Sunsets successful is the best way to achieve that

Yes Olivine Weathering would help. Just also injecting calcite in the atmosphere would work too, and reduce acidity! We should just start with the better-known SO2

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i forget where i read it now or what i read exactly but it was something along the lines of most people in congress behind closed doors think srm is a good idea, its just they have to self censor and cant publicly state that we might have to do something so drastic. there are some exceptions though. anyway i think more of the public IS finding out about srm and i have no doubt that pressure is mounting and will continue to mount that we have to do this

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Mar 7Liked by Tomas Pueyo

I considered it - found it to be disappointingly full of conjecture

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1600 scientists and scholars earlier signed a letter to the contrary but like your conjecture fact checkers aligned with news organizations owned by institutions having a financial interest in the UN made sure to refute their claims as having any validity. Not surprising. There you go.

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It's not me claiming conjecture; the article is objectively full of it, in plain English. And conjecture has little place in the discussion of scientific findings. I'm disappointed by this because all the points in the article ironically have less weight because of it. Results should speak for themselves; if they need heavy embellishing, they can't be trusted.

Some fact checkers being linked by three degrees of separation to the UN is suspicious and bad, but Soon's research being funded by oil companies is innocent and "just trying to help", right? Can you not see it could also be the other way around, or even both and neither? Again, it should be irrelevant if the results are strong enough

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author

Science is literally conjecture. A theory is a conjecture ( a hypothesis) more or less corroborated empirically.

None of the physics points I make are very polemic. Most science so far corroborate them. The only debate is on human reactions to the physical facts.

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epoch times are right wing Iunatics, they spread a bunch of misinformation about covid also. get outta here.

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Volcanoes do this all the time, sulfur compounds are a primary component. You knew that, right?

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Really interesting. Just subscribed to Sunset!

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author

The more the better for them, for SO2, and for the environment!

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Apr 8Liked by Tomas Pueyo
Apr 8Liked by Tomas Pueyo
author

Doesn’t look like they mention anybody specific? So this sounds like yet more speculation on game theory of countries

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author

Thx! I’ll read the paper

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Interesting article and approach. To fight the resistance, it may be beneficial to use the layers of resistance model. The resistance of people to change is composed of different layers that corresponds to the following reservations. If we can answer to all reservations then people will accept the change:

1. I don't agree with your agenda

2. I don't agree with the problem as you state it

3. I don't agree that your solution may be working

4. There will be too much issues to implement your solution

5. I don't agree that you solution will bring the benefits you announced

6. Your solution will have negative side effects

Your article seems to be able to bring answers to most of those reservations.

let's hope it can trigger some actions.

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Mar 11Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Hello, I found this tip about limitations of sulphur in stratosfere

https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU24/EGU24-18905.html

Good if you look around this meeting. Why don't you join effor with other scientist and look for a global solution?

The traditional SAI set-up based on sulphate aerosols was shown to have several limitations such as stratospheric heating, due to absorption of long wave radiation, or ozone depletion, due to chlorine activation at the particle surfaces. Solid particles are thought to potentially overcome these limitations by having better optical properties and/or larger chemical inertness. In our work, we use for the first time a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-aerosol-chemistry-climate model SOCOLv4.0, which incorporates a solid particle emission scheme, to assess the SAI effects of the alumina, calcite, and diamond.

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author

I joined forces with other scientists! Some are advising Make Sunsets.

Also a scientist is not a person paid a salary by a university. A scientist is somebody who does science: makes predictions based on available data and then tests predictions. I am doing science, Make Sunsets is doing science.

All the concerns you mention are outlined in the article!

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Mar 11Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Interesting article - while you may very well be right that SO2 injection is the right approach, there are a few points that I think need more attention in your article.

"In some regions, it will rain more than it used to, and vice-versa."

From what I've read (which might be out of date) its highly uncertain how the SO2 would impact local (as opposed to global averge) temperature / rainfall etc. Agriculture, habitability etc are very sensitive to small changes - which is what makes climate change so dangerous, and this is especially true for poor people, who get little say in who gets impacted most. For example - if the impact of the SO2 was to delay the monsoon even by a few days then it could cause millions of deaths when a city runs out of water.

"There’s no turning back for renewables"

This is only partly true, renewables are on a massive growth, but from a global perspective this is mostly delivering more energy, rather than substituting for fossil fuels. Almost every tonne of oil, or barrel of oil extracted gets burned by someone, so until we reduce extraction we won't see a reduction in worldwide missions. Poor countries, with few choices, will buy it if/when the west stops burning it. See https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/oil-production-by-region for example for how Oil production is still growing. Australia and the US are both guilty of approving new fossil fuel infrastructure, even under supposedly center-left governments.

Also, in your Termination Shock section you say "We would be inserting 2% more SO2 than we are already inserting. That’s nothing. ", that's obviously incorrect, if it was nothing then we wouldn't be attempting it. Its precisely because a small amount of SO2 in the right place has a big effect that this is a potential solution, which absolutely creates a Termination Shock if we stop doing it (equal and opposite to the hopefully large effect the injection has).

Some of your math appears to be odd - if I read it correctly you are comparing cost /tonne/(2years) with cost/tonne, i.e. if you put a tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere, it needs a gramme of SO2 added every 2 years while the CO2 is still there, I'm unclear how long that period is, but there is almost certainly a significant multiplier needed when comparing Make Sunsets to the other offsets, You mention this, but just use not quantitive language like "flabbergasting".

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author

Thank you for your thoughtful comment! Response, point by point:

1. We don’t know the details of what will get more or less rain

- We don’t know with current climate change either.

- We dont know with the current SO2 emissions in the troposphere

- Or the NOx

- The only reason why we’re paying attention to this is because the question is even asked. Not because the impact is bigger than in other areas. Therefore if this was a true concern we should be trying these other areas. We’re not really. Revealed preference.

- Odds are keeping temperatures constant despite CO2 is better than having them grow

- We have a reasonably good idea of what will happen at the regional level. See premium article.

2. Oil is growing

Yes but now the years of that are counted. We’re in a small period in history where solar exponential growth is now unstoppable and will overcome oil, yet the market share is not yet big enough to shrink oil. But just give a few years for solar to keep doubling and oil will start shrinking. If you want a more direct indicator, just look at investments in oil infrastructure.

3. SO2

Maybe you missed the key difference. SO2 would now be injected in the stratosphere rather than the troposphere. Higher up, it’s 25x more effective and 25x less polluting.

You still get a termination shock if you stop overnight but the solution to that is very obvious:

- it’s unlikely we need to do it because we know what happens when there are termination shocks: every time a volcano stops spewing SO2

- if the termination shock would be very bad, just don’t do it

- if keeping emitting so2 would be better than stopping, just keep emitting

4. Perfect equivalent of SO2 to CO2

I have all the math details in the premium article. A middle-class 20yo European would need to spend $80/y to offset his CO2, adding $4 every year or so to that amount. This compares to several tens of thousands of dollars to sequester that CO2

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Mar 10·edited Mar 10Liked by Tomas Pueyo
author

Gracias por compartir!

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Mar 7Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Being close to the Equator and a business center I am thinking that Make Sunsets should be considering

Singapore as a location rather than a small island country for launching their balloons. Perhaps getting permission there is a possibility or maybe going there would just strengthen the opposition to SRM.

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author

Yes I think Singapore is a good candidate

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Mar 6Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Can you get carbon credits for removal via sulfur injection?

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author

No, SO2 doesn’t remove CO2, it doubters its warming

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