Scientists are hard at work to combat climate change. Bill Gates is now touting the idea of solar geoengineering, or the research blocking the sunlight from reaching the earth, according to Popular Mechanics.

The idea is to effectively block sunlight from warming the atmosphere and therefore artificially cooling the planet. Solar geoengineering technology directs sunlight back into space using a technique that would inject aerosols into the air.

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The controversial practice is getting more attention as of late. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a new report in March urging the government to fund the practice. Gates is backing Harvard University’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program and their upcoming research.

Source: The Economist/YouTube

Supporters believe that as climate change continues and our emissions reduction plans aren’t moving fast enough, we need to consider other options. Researcher Chris Fields wrote, “Globally, 2015-2019 were the 5 warmest years in the instrumental record. The creation of this study committee is one response to the need for understanding the full range of options for dealing with the climate crisis.” Fields is the director of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University and head of the committee that produced the report.

Source: TED Archive/YouTube

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Risks of the practice include changing weather patterns, reduced public pressure for emissions reductions, and how to stop and start the technology.

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