Startup Company Says It Has Released Particles Into The Atmosphere To Stop ‘Climate Change’

A Startup company claims it has begun releasing sulphur particles into the stratosphere from weather balloons in an attempt to combat climate change.

What could go wrong?

The company Make Sunsets is banking on solar geoengineering to cool down the planet…and making itself loads of money.

They claim to have successfully launched weather balloons from Mexico, each filled with about 10 grams of sulfur particles and intended for the stratosphere, potentially crossing a controversial barrier in the field of solar geoengineering.

MIT Technology Review report: Some researchers who have long studied the technology are deeply troubled that the company, Make Sunsets, appears to have moved forward with launches from a site in Mexico without any public engagement or scientific scrutiny. It’s already attempting to sell “cooling credits” for future balloon flights that could carry larger payloads. 

Several researchers MIT Technology Review spoke with condemned the effort to commercialize geoengineering at this early stage. Some potential investors and customers who have reviewed the company’s proposals say that it’s not a serious scientific effort or a credible business but more of an attention grab designed to stir up controversy in the field. 

Luke Iseman, the cofounder and CEO of Make Sunsets, acknowledges that the effort is part entrepreneurial and part provocation, an act of geoengineering activism. 

He hopes that by moving ahead in the controversial space, the startup will help drive the public debate and push forward a scientific field that has faced great difficulty carrying out small-scale field experiments amid criticism.

“We joke slash not joke that this is partly a company and partly a cult,” he says.

Iseman, previously a director of hardware at Y Combinator, says he expects to be pilloried by both geoengineering critics and researchers in the field for taking such a step, and he recognizes that “making me look like the Bond villain is going to be helpful to certain groups.” But he says climate change is such a grave threat, and the world has moved so slowly to address the underlying problem, that more radical interventions are now required.

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