How You Can Easily Delay Climate Change Today: SO2 Injection

Tomas Pueyo in Uncharted Territories: In We Can Already Stop Climate Change If We Want To, I explained that we have a path to solve climate change (renewables, nuclear, batteries, olivine weathering), but it will take at least a few decades to get there. In the meantime, CO2 emissions will keep growing, there’s nothing we can do to reverse them fast enough, and global temperatures will keep increasing.

You won’t convince the masses of poor people around the world to stay poor. So CO2 concentrations are going to keep increasing and the CO2 in the atmosphere will reach ever greater heights.

Uncharted Territories
These emissions are due to the biggest decrease in poverty the world has ever seen.
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There is only one thing we can do to avoid these potentially catastrophic consequences: Cooling the Earth artificially until we get CO2 levels in hand. And the best way we know to do that is sending SO2 to the stratosphere.

I outlined that solution in the article linked above, but I didn’t go in depth, and many of you had questions:

Does it really work? How?
Is this really the best solution? What are the alternatives?
How safe is it? What are the downsides?
Will states allow this? Is it legal?
How much will it cost?
Where should we release this SO2?

So I dove into this, talked with the only company that I know that is trying to do this at scale, and as a result of this deep dive,I am trying to invest in the company. Here’s what I found: We need to inject particles into the stratosphere that reflect 1-2% of sunshine.

Here are the drivers of climate change today.
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Notice something? There are two gases that increase global temperatures substantially (carbon dioxide and methane) and one that lowers them: sulfur dioxide. The entire idea is to make the big blue column here bigger and put it in the right place (stratosphere) so that it fully offsets the contributions of CO2.2

We’ve been inadvertently cooling off the Earth up to 0.5ºC without realizing it! Without SO2, the Earth would already be at 2ºC above pre-industrial levels!

The rule of thumb is that the relationship between SO2 and CO2 is one to one million:3 One gram of SO2 offsets one ton of CO2 for one year! More here.

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