Why climate credits for solar geoengineering are a bad idea

A cloudy orange sky during sunset. The sun is low on the horizon.
Views of the sunset and stormy skies on September 9th, 2021 in La Paz, Mexico.  | Photo: Alfredo Martinez/Getty Images

Buyer beware: there’s a dubious new kind of climate credit for sale.

Traditional carbon offset credits, say, for planting trees or protecting forests, have a record of failing to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Now, a startup is selling credits for its attempts to manipulate the planet’s ability to reflect sunlight, a controversial response to climate change called solar geoengineering.

A group of prominent scientists published a letter yesterday that warns that this kind of climate intervention is nowhere near ready to be commercially deployed and probably never should be. A big name on the letter is James Hansen, a former NASA scientist who’s now at Columbia University and is famous for sounding the alarm on climate change…

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