Highly decentralized solar geoengineering

Nonstate actors appear to have increasing power, in part due to new technologies that alter actors’ capacities and incentives. Although solar geoengineering is typically conceived of as centralized and state-deployed, we explore highly decentralized solar geoengineering. Done perhaps through numerous small high-altitude balloons, it could be provided by nonstate actors such as environmentally motivated nongovernmental organizations or individuals. Conceivably tolerated or even covertly sponsored by states, highly decentralized solar geoengineering could move presumed action from the state arena to that of direct intervention by nonstate actors, which could in turn, disrupt international politics and pose novel challenges for technology and environmental policy. We conclude that this method appears technically possible, economically feasible, and potentially politically disruptive. Decentralization could, in principle, make control by states difficult, perhaps even rendering such control prohibitively costly and complex.

That is from Jesse L. Reynolds & Gernot Wagner, and injecting fine aerosols into the air, as if to mimic some features of volcanic eruptions, seems to be one of the major possible approaches.  I am not able to judge the scientific merits of their claims, but it has long seemed to me evident that some version of this idea would prove possible.

Solve for the equilibrium!  What is it?  Too much enthusiasm for correction and thus disastrous climate cooling?  Preemptive government regulation?  It requires government subsidy?  It becomes controlled by concerned philanthropists?  It starts a climate war between America/Vietnam and Russia/Greenland?  Goldilocks?  I wonder if we will get to find out.

Via the excellent Kevin Lewis.


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