SWITZERLAND, AUGUST 14 – American billionaire and co founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates has backed an ambitious plan by scientists to block the sun to stop climate change.
The researchers believe that a fleet of specially designed aircraft could spray sulfate particles into the lower stratosphere to cool down our planet and offset the effects of climate change.
A test of the technology has been proposed for this year, the Daily Mail reports, with the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) seeing a bag of carbonate dust released into the atmosphere 12 miles up.
If that experiment proves successful, the researchers will move on to releasing the dust from planes.
The researchers suggest that jets flying 12 miles up would complete over 60,000 missions in 15 years, starting with a fleet of eight and moving up to 100 planes.
At present, there are no aircraft capable of doing this, so they would need to be developed.
The Harvard researchers have claimed that (if it were launched this year), it would cost about $3.5 billion (£2.74 billion),, plus $2.25 billion (£1.76 billion) per year.
The researchers said last year, ‘Dozens of countries would have both the expertise and the money to launch such a program.
‘Around 50 countries have military budgets greater than $3 billion, with 30 greater than $6 billion.’
The idea of ‘solar geoengineering’ or solar radiation management (SRM) is controversial, mimicking the world-chilling effects of huge volcanic eruptions.
Some scientists have suggested that such technology could be used a ‘stop gap’ to reduce temperatures while measures to limit CO2 emissions are put in place.
But others have suggested that when the SRM was withdrawn, it could lead to rapid global warming in a phenomenon known as ‘termination shock’.