According to a 2018 study, any benefits of solar geoengineering would be cancelled by the harm caused to plants by reduced sunlight.

Green Groups Object to Swedish Climate Geoengineering Experiment

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

If geoengineering was ever attempted on a significant scale, it would likely lead to crop failure and global famine. As a 2018 study discovered, plants need sunlight. But despite this rather disturbing drawback, scientists are pushing ahead with their experiments.

Balloon test flight plan under fire over solar geoengineering fears

Swedish environmental groups warn test flight could be first step towards the adoption of a potentially “dangerous, unpredictable, and unmanageable” technology

A proposed scientific balloon flight in northern Sweden has attracted opposition from environmental groups over fears it could lead to the use of solar geoengineering to cool the Earth and combat the climate crisis by mimicking the effect of a large volcanic eruption.

In June, a team of Harvard scientists is planning to launch a high-altitude balloon from Kiruna in Lapland to test whether it can carry equipment for a future small-scale experiment on radiation-reflecting particles in the Earth’s atmosphere.

An independent advisory committee will rule on whether to approve the balloon test flight by 15 February. Swedish environmental groups have written to the government and the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) to voice their opposition.

In the letters, seen by the Guardian, organisations including the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Greenpeace Sweden and Friends of the Earth Sweden said that while the balloon flight scheduled for June does not involve the release of particles, it could be the first step towards the adoption of a potentially “dangerous, unpredictable, and unmanageable” technology.

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This is not the first time an unpopular green technology took on a life of its own. In 2007-8, global infatuation with biofuel subsidies triggered widespread hunger riots in poor countries.

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February 8, 2021 10:05 am

What could possibly be the unintended consequences of this looney experiment?

Christopher Simpson
Reply to  rickk
February 8, 2021 10:11 am

I wouldn’t worry. I’m sure their models show that it’s perfectly safe. Just trust the experts.

Reply to  Christopher Simpson
February 8, 2021 3:49 pm

I always opposed any form of Geo-engineering, but, recently changed my mind (for a better one).

I now firmly believe that (due to the climate crises, global pandemic, constant wars…. ) we should use every / any form of Geo-engineering we can to rid this wonderful planet of the dumbest creature that crawled out from the primordial slime –
. Green Humans –
– self deluded, arrogant, stupid, self destructive & short lived.

The planet is fine & self healing … in its own time frame, not in ours !

From the greatest philosopher George Carlin

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  rickk
February 8, 2021 11:02 am

The “Green Groups” aren’t worried about the experiment NOT working as intended. They are terrified it will work exactly as intended – with no negative unintended consequences.

That would be a nightmare for their plans. They don’t want to control the planet’s thermostat, they want control over the planet’s capitalists that actually build things.

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
February 8, 2021 11:18 am

Spot on!

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Pillage Idiot
February 8, 2021 2:26 pm

Not just the capitalists, everyone.

Douglas Lampert
Reply to  Pillage Idiot
February 8, 2021 2:31 pm

Yep, if you ACTUALLY believe that we are faced with an existential crisis of overheating the Earth due to a trivially strong CO2 effect + H2O positive feedback loops, then you should be ALL IN on what a wonderful idea it is to try to create a trivially strong SO2 cooling effect that those same positive feedback loops will magnify into temperature control with negligible loss of surface radiation.

Plants will not be killed by on the order of 0.5% reduction in average sunlight. But if the catastrophic warmists are correct, that would SOLVE the warming problem.

They should be all in on this experiment (which doesn’t even release any particulates). They’re not, just like they’re not for nuclear, just like they’re against iron filings in the oceans to promote plankton growth, just like they’re against fracking which is the only thing that ACTUALLY reduces CO2 emissions, and just like they’re spend trillions on “alternate energy” but barely trickle money into fusion research.

They don’t want less CO2, they want fewer people and less industry. Anything that threatens to actually solve the problem must be opposed vigorously in favor of unicorn farts, solar, and wind.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
Reply to  Pillage Idiot
February 8, 2021 2:31 pm

This is like the ocean fertilization with iron powder experiments that, very early on (in the 80’s) proved extremely cost-efficient. Greenpeace went nutz when they realized the potential this had to remove huge amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere by supplying the iron limiting food production at the bottom of the food chain. In the ensuring years various ideas have been punted as to why natural processes at the ocean surface are bad for the environment.

A couple of papers tried to say the process doesn’t work but you’d have to stop biological life itself to have an iron-poor section of the ocean not be made healthier and more productive by fertilizing it with the missing ingredient. I suppose greens want farmers to stop putting boron on sunflowers or zinc on maize “to save the planet”.

Yeah – if artificial volcanoes work as intended and we really can control the global temperature, we can go one burning fossil fuels until they run out. By then we will have invented nuclear power sources Gen 10 and solar panels Gen 15 and geothermal power Gen 6 and we can have as much energy as we want. Everyone will work 4 hours a day and volunteer to do things they like for 8, trying to out-compete each other with random acts of kindness.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
February 8, 2021 4:20 pm

The problem with the iron fertilization experiment seemed to work, except for the gigatons of iron required…..

alastair gray
Reply to  rickk
February 8, 2021 11:58 am

It is so unutterably stupid that I can not figure out why Greenpeace and St Greta are not right behind it/ Anyway why do these Harvard loonies want to do it in Sweden. Let them do it in their own back yards or preferably not at all

Jeff Meyer
Reply to  rickk
February 8, 2021 2:45 pm

Ice Piercer!!!

Reply to  rickk
February 8, 2021 3:13 pm

In 1815 the volcano Tambora put so much dust into the atmosphere that 1816 was the year without a summer, leading tocrop failures and many deaths from starvation.

Is this what they intend to happen or are they ignorant of history?

Playing God is very, very dangerous.

Reply to  StephenP
February 8, 2021 5:23 pm

“Is this what they intend to happen or are they ignorant of history?”

They are eugenicists who want to reduce the population of Planet Earth by 85-90%
So, what do you think?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  StephenP
February 8, 2021 8:30 pm
Reply to  StephenP
February 9, 2021 12:51 am

Interestingly a side effect of this was a retreat in Arctic ice in the following year. I am always amused when skeptics quote the ice situation in 1817 in relation to the current state of the Arctic without acknowledging this

Reply to  rickk
February 8, 2021 5:19 pm

What makes you think crop failure and starvation would be unintended consequences of experiments funded by eugenicists who want an 85-90% reduction in the population of Planet Earth?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  rickk
February 8, 2021 10:35 pm

What could possibly be the unintended consequences of this looney experiment?”

Snowpiercer. Complete with perpetual motion global rail transport

Tom Halla
February 8, 2021 10:10 am

Oh yes, the Little Ice Age was so pleasant? Famine, pestilence, and war are apparently someone’s notion of a good outcome.

Peter W
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 8, 2021 10:46 am

Speaking of that sort of stuff, I just saw a headline saying the World Championship Alpine Ski races had to be postponed . . . . due to heavy snowfall!

Reply to  Tom Halla
February 8, 2021 11:19 am

We already have pestilence. War hasn’t stopped in the Middle East. So does that leave famine?

Tom Halla
Reply to  Sara
February 8, 2021 11:31 am

Someone in the Biden administration could require organic farming.

Bryan A
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 8, 2021 5:45 pm

Agrarian societies to begin soon, the president is just bai-den his time

Last edited 21 days ago by Bryan A
February 8, 2021 10:11 am

a 2018 study discovered, plants need sunlight.”

I learned that in school in the 60ies…. ?
Was I one out of the furture ?? 😀

Joe Wagner
Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 8, 2021 10:22 am

Ah- but did you publish a paper on the results??? You probably missed out on some sweet, sweet grants because you didn’t…

Reply to  Joe Wagner
February 8, 2021 10:49 am

I was 12 at this time, a paper ? 😀

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 8, 2021 11:03 am

We did have a “paper” at that time.

It was our 6th grade science book. It showed that photosynthesizing organisms were at the base of every significant food chain on the planet.

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
February 8, 2021 1:17 pm

The question was if I published a paper, what I didn#t as scholar 😀
In books we had a lot of descriptios of plant life…
But these authors have as it seems a short memory…..

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 8, 2021 11:55 am

Amazing discoveries, amazing computers, sunlight and 3-D oceans.
Scavia, D., D. Justić, D. R. Obenour, J. K. Craig and L.Wang. 2019. Hypoxic volume is more responsive than hypoxic area to nutrient load reductions in the northern Gulf of Mexico—and it matters to fish and fisheries. Environmental Research Letters.14(2):024012

Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 8, 2021 1:12 pm

In the early sixties, my school sciences professor even taught us that high concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere helped the vegetables growing faster.

Mayor of Venus
Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 8, 2021 1:34 pm

Plants need sunlight? Not mushrooms! Let’s make mushrooms a major part of our diets!

Reply to  Mayor of Venus
February 8, 2021 5:09 pm

Also include the weird ocean life that grows around thermal vents!

Climate believer
February 8, 2021 10:14 am

Scientists please stop trying to act like gods… will end badly.

Reply to  Climate believer
February 8, 2021 5:18 pm

Even God acting like a god repented from ever creating man:

“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” Genesis 6:6,7 — KJV.

Bill Powers
February 8, 2021 10:21 am

What particulates are they planning to introduce into the atmosphere to block sunlight? Oh, and, what level of stupid do you have to sink to in order to not see the law of unintended consequences biting the world population in the backside?

What with COVID and this type of lunacy I have become convinced that these people are not stupid, they’re evil. The faceless cultural elite who run this Global Shiteshow have a primary goal of significantly reducing the world population. They figure since COVID didn’t kill off enough of the old folk they will simply have to starve them death or freeze them into submission. Killing off the non Ivy League bound youngsters is just a bonus.

Peter W
Reply to  Bill Powers
February 8, 2021 10:50 am

What size are the particles? If small enough and dense enough, they could provide the source for cloud formation, and start the next ice age.

February 8, 2021 10:30 am

Another “don’t fix it if it’s not broke”. Despite all the cries about a warming planet there’s only been positive affects noted. It’s scary that these people actually believe the hype that we’re witnessing a climate Armageddon. Don’t they ever go outside?

Tom Gelsthorpe
Reply to  markl
February 8, 2021 10:50 am

No, they don’t. They’re like the headstrong but inept space travelers in Book Three of “Gulliver’s Travels” who are all theory and no practice, and who can’t manage their own bodily functions without an army of obedient servants.

Dave O.
Reply to  markl
February 10, 2021 2:35 pm

The alarmist battle cry: If it’s not broke, break it.

Joel O'Bryan
February 8, 2021 10:33 am

Instead of sulfate in the Stratosphere, those Harvard IYI’s should just paint the Arctic sea ice with carbon soot to get rid of that damn ice. Primary productivty in Arctic would skyrocket and the entire food chain would benefit.

Rory Forbes
February 8, 2021 11:03 am

Where are the results of the survey that show people’s preference for colder weather? Since when have tourists been lining up for holidays in colder climates?

Richard Page
Reply to  Rory Forbes
February 8, 2021 11:55 am

Next time you’re going through an airport – check where the tourists with ski’s are going. It takes all sorts.

Peta of Newark
February 8, 2021 11:08 am

Errm, what are these:
“”experiment on radiation-reflecting particles in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Aren’t carbon dioxide molecules = radiation-reflecting particles?

Mayor of Venus
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 8, 2021 1:39 pm

Certainly not!

February 8, 2021 11:09 am

OK, someone tell me… why is Sweden (or, for that matter, Canada) WORRIED about “Global Warming”?

Seems to me they would like a bit of warming. Here in frigid Chicago, I’m looking forward to the promises that Michael Mann has made.

Mayor of Venus
Reply to  Kpar
February 8, 2021 1:42 pm

What ever happened to the “Minnesotans FOR global warming”? There should be chapters of that group in many cold places.

Reply to  Kpar
February 9, 2021 7:51 am

Kpar, I have been patiently waiting for Mr. Mann’s predictions to come true for 20 years now. When it’s -15 C and the wind chill is double that, one finds oneself sacrificing to the “altar” of Mann. And by sacrificing, I mean burning a lot of extra fossil fuels.

Jean Parisot
Reply to  Kpar
February 9, 2021 7:53 am

The launch site is in Sweden, the Kiernan Institute of Space Physics. They do alot of suborbital work. Folks are trying to stop the launch license there, but the stupid idea is all Ivy League.

February 8, 2021 11:10 am

You don’t have to be mad to be a post-modern climate scientist, but it really does help.

February 8, 2021 11:18 am

I’m constantly amazed at the idiotic arrogance and ignorance of the people who want to do these things. They need professional help with their problem, so that they can find a better way to deal with their need to control things that are out of their control.

I’d have more respect if they’d work on a DEW-type system for places located next to active volcanoes. Oh, wait – almost forgot about Kilauea. 🙂 My bad.

George Carlin was correct when he said “The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are effed!!”

February 8, 2021 11:18 am

Life imitates art? Specifically a US TV series and Korean movie based on a French comic book? So, when are they going to start building the mile-long train?

February 8, 2021 11:22 am

Guys, some self-promotion here: To keep the post short, I have a serious(ish) theory on this sun-dimming nonsense. I am too old for science fiction dreams, but this is the only explanation I can find.
P.S. This was written more than a year before those famous four fracking wells managed to break even…. the rest? We wait.

February 8, 2021 11:35 am

There’s a limit to how much we can play God before there are dire consequences. Sadly no limits on pride, arrogance and stupidity.

February 8, 2021 11:38 am

Save a bird, a bat, whack a wind turbine? Choose nuclear, gas,, etc., clear the Green blight? Don’t be green, choose green, not clean, renewable green[backs].

H. D. Hoese
February 8, 2021 12:03 pm
“In support of equality, inclusion & diversity Elsevier stands against racism and discrimination and fully supports the joint commitment for action in inclusion and diversity in publishing.”

They are going to fix everything!! So many ecological experts, so little time!!

J. R.
February 8, 2021 12:15 pm

But hey, do note that Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are for once opposing some environmental nonsense!

February 8, 2021 12:26 pm

Reducing CO2, plant food, is mandatory to save the planet.
Reducing sunlight that plants need to live will destroy the planet.

February 8, 2021 12:37 pm

Swedish environmental groups warn test flight could be first step towards the adoption of a potentially “dangerous, unpredictable, and unmanageable” technology.

This is odd… I actually find myself in agreement with the environmental groups. Strange days, indeed.

Steve Case
February 8, 2021 12:43 pm

As a 2018 study discovered, plants need sunlight.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
You put that in there just to give my funny bone some exercise didn’t you!

In 2007-8, global infatuation with biofuel subsidies triggered widespread hunger riots in poor countries.

Turning a double digit percentage of the nation’s grain crop into “Biofuel” is a crime against humanity and ought to be prosecuted.

Paul C
February 8, 2021 1:14 pm

Well, what could possibly go wrong? Presumably they want to try it in the tropics at some stage. It would be interesting if they proved Willis theory by succeeding in turning off the self-regulatory thunderstorm in an equatorial area of ocean for a while, and seeded a mega-hurricane as the system over-corrected.
Meanwhile, down on the farm – Tropical holiday bad, ski holiday good – no need to fly, we’ve arranged for it to come to you; ocean fertilisation bad, land fertilisation good; western coal bad, Chinese coal good; two legs bad, four legs good.

Al Miller
February 8, 2021 1:26 pm

What could possibly go wrong here…uh everything!

Bruce Cobb
February 8, 2021 1:55 pm

Geoengineering: An idea so monumentally and catastrophically stupid that it deserves the implied facepalm award of the millennium.

Paul C
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 8, 2021 3:37 pm

Depends on your definition of geoengineering. Since a minor UN conference has claimed authority to ban geoengineering, and include ocean fertilisation within that scope, it would actually follow logically that agriculture and forestry could fall into the same category. Major engineering such as dams and open cast mining could also be construed to be within the realms of their overreach. Some experiments may actually be useful. If it were possible to evaluate the effect of volcanic injections of sulphur into the stratosphere by experiments using a tiny proportion of what occurs naturally, historic natural influences could be better identified. Burning vast tracts of forests could be viewed as an accidental geoengineering experiment.

Reply to  Paul C
February 9, 2021 5:33 am

You could also argue electric cars using gas or fossil fuel generation are geoengineering you are simply moving the emission from the combustion engine to the power station.

February 8, 2021 2:34 pm

“As a 2018 study discovered, plants need sunlight. But despite this rather disturbing drawback, scientists are pushing ahead with their experiments.”

This has to be the funniest thing ever said on WUWT. And insightful, to boot. Perhaps there should be a category for such…

February 8, 2021 3:53 pm

This is unnecessary. Geoengineering can be used to control the planet’s temperature. What we need is a liquid we place on the surface that evaporates exponentially as the temperature increases. And the vapor forms clouds to reflect away the incoming sunlight. Water looks like a good candidate, and 70% coverage should be lots….

February 8, 2021 5:18 pm

Calcium carbonate is what the experimenters are considering as a feasible agent. The Original Post highlighting volcanic (sulfur) impacts is misleading.

Although the cited experiments do plan comtrolled investigations of sulfate releases the aim is for improved scientific data; not planned use as an agent since, among other things, sulfate aerosols are known to cause stratospheric heating. The calcium carbonate experimental release is, in part, to try and determine what it’s actual impact on the stratosphere is.

Reply to  gringojay
February 8, 2021 6:57 pm

Although I do not think solar geo-engineering should be done, here is the simplified trade off presumably informing proponents’ agricultural calculation . Bear in mind their strategy is not to use Mt.Pinatubo eruption spewed molecular weight equivalent levels of (say) calcium carbonate.

The concept is essentially to create haze and in 1999 experiments for every 1% increase in haze the reduction of assorted crop yields on average from between 0.7% to 1.0%. While, for example in tested wheat, there are reductions of 2% to 4% yields for every statistical 1*Celsius increase in the growing season’s average maximum & average minimum temperature. In other words a trade-off is being factored in & those apparently seem theoretically favorable to proponents of solar geo-engineering.

Furthermore, there is seed oil plant research that the impact of increased % of haze on it’s reduced yield is counteracted by increased levels of nitrogen fertilization. That said, to me this is impractical for poor farmers & usage sequel management – but to technical solar geo-engineering proponents a scientific work around.

As for the inter-play of CO2 with the above parameters I have no particular insight. And I am
not trying here to parse the purported trade-off as it relates to tropical vs. temperate, coastal vs. interior, nor summer vs. winter.

Reply to  gringojay
February 9, 2021 3:52 pm

While, for example in tested wheat, there are reductions of 2% to 4% yields for every statistical 1*Celsius increase in the growing season’s average maximum & average minimum temperature.

Je ne comprend pas. Are you saying that 1o increase in the maximum summer temperatures on the prairies in Canada is going to trash our wheat harvest? And in India the growing season is the cool season and a 1o increase in temperature is going to decrease harvests? Where did you get this crap?

Also tell us what is the effect of a 1o drop.

William Haas
February 8, 2021 5:40 pm

Mankind does not even know what the optimum global climate actually is let alone how to achieve it. So we do not know whether cooling with particulate matter will improve our global climate or make it worse. Adding particulate material is deliberate pollution and could have serious medical consequences for many. How much would such an effort cost per expected degree C change in global climate and how long would the particles last in the Earth’s atmosphere? My best guess is that such an effort would be cost prohibitive and have possible dire consequences.

Reply to  William Haas
February 9, 2021 7:44 am

From what I’ve been able to pick up, they seem to think LIA temperatures and ~250ppm CO2 are the “right” climate. So they’re shooting for those targets – but what happens if they overshoot? The arrogance to think that there isn’t risk of that happening.

180ppm and temperatures below LIA, will that make these fools happy?

Patrick MJD
February 8, 2021 10:33 pm

“As a 2018 study discovered, plants need sunlight.”

Does anyone recall the 1970’s sci-fi movie “Silent Running”?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
February 9, 2021 1:56 am

Sure. Joan Baez and closet marijuana.

February 9, 2021 6:24 am

Is the precautionary principle not screamed by each and every enviro?

February 9, 2021 7:28 am

These geoengineering ideas I’ve seen proposed lately are insanely dangerous. Talk about “existential threat”!

At what point to they constitute an imminent threat?

Matthew Sykes
February 10, 2021 3:54 am

The 2008 biofuel scare triggered the financial crash, as it drove food prices up for poor people and the collapse in the debt mountain.

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