P.T. Barnum Science: startup ‘Make Sunsets’ is “releasing particles into the atmosphere” to cool the planet

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From Watts Up With That?

From MIT Technology Review and the EPA’s “We only regulate peasants and industry” department comes this hot mess of climate ego coupled with P.T Barnum style bad science.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

A startup claims it has launched weather balloons that may have released reflective sulfur particles in the stratosphere, potentially crossing a controversial barrier in the field of solar geoengineering.

Geoengineering refers to deliberate efforts to manipulate the climate by reflecting more sunlight back into space, mimicking a natural process that occurs in the aftermath of large volcanic eruptions. In theory, spraying sulfur and similar particles in sufficient quantities could potentially ease global warming.

It’s not technically difficult to release such compounds into the stratosphere. But scientists have mostly (though not entirely) refrained from carrying out even small-scale outdoor experiments. And it’s not clear that any have yet injected materials into that specific layer of the atmosphere in the context of geoengineering-related research.

That’s in part because it’s highly controversial. Little is known about the real-world effect of such deliberate interventions at large scales, but they could have dangerous side effects. The impacts could also be worse in some regions than others, which could provoke geopolitical conflicts. 

Read the whole story here.

Here is the basic concept in an image:

Millions of tons of sulfur dioxide gas from a major volcanic eruption can reach the stratosphere. After converting to sulfuric acid droplets, these aerosols reflect energy coming from the sun, thereby preventing the sun’s rays from heating Earth’s surface. Credit: Kristina Ruhlman/NASA

The About Page of Make Sunsets has this wild claim:

We make reflective, high-altitude, biodegradable clouds that cool the planet. Mimicking natural processes, our “shiny clouds” are going to prevent catastrophic global warming. 

Specifically: we release a natural compound via reusable balloons to create reflective clouds in the stratosphere. They’re *really* effective: 1 gram of our clouds offsets the warming that 1 ton of CO₂ emissions creates for a year. After three years, our clouds compost and settle back to Earth.  

Because we deliver our clouds via reusable balloons, we’re able to offset CO₂ at <1% of the cost of other solutions. Uniquely, we can also scale to offset *all* of global warming.

We can offset warming from all global annual CO₂ emissions with ~$30 million of our clouds, and every $1 billion of our clouds will cool the world by ~0.1°F!

Sounds like sci-fi? It’s not: we’ve already launched our first clouds, and we’ll offset a substantial amount of warming in 2023!

Company Information

Founded in October 2022, Make Sunsets is backed by Boost VCPioneer Fund, and other friends.

The money quote:

…we’ll offset a substantial amount of warming in 2023!

At the end of 2023, we’ll see if their paltry operation has made any difference at all. My bet is on nothing. Or if there’s some natural variation and the Earth is 0.1C cooler than 2022, we’ll get a “See! Told Ya!”

If the planet is warmer, we’ll have a lot of fun taunting, as it should be.

But wait, there’s more!

You can be a planetary hero and buy “cooling credits” here, only $50 for a certificate!

We will release at least 1 gram of our clouds into the stratosphere for you, offsetting the warming effect of 1 ton of carbon for 1 year. We will document our releases on our blog.

For reference, let’s look at some actual data on sulfur dioxide emissions into the atmosphere that actually had an effect. In 1991, Mount Pinatubo erupted and according to NASA:

Mount Pinatubo’s violent eruption injected about 15 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere. The resulting sulfuric acid aerosols remained in the stratosphere for about two years, and cooled the Earth’s surface by a range of 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

15 million tons of sulfur dioxide “cooled the Earth’s surface by a range of 1 to 2 degrees.” Yet the founder believes he can accomplish the same thing with weather balloons carrying a few grams of sulfur dioxide or maybe he’s usng pure sulfur, who knows?

Yep, P.T. Barnum science. “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

It is difficult to tell if this outfit is anything of substance, even though it does appear to have secured venture funding. By the “Make Sunsets” blog post below, it seems to be little more than one guy in Oakland, CA, Luke Iseman, who’s upset about “climate change” toiling in his backyard launching weather balloons purchased from Edmund Scientific while trying to beg money from science-challenged people in the hope of some wishful climate effectiveness. There is no address or phone number. On 12/10/22 Iseman made a Facebook post looking for a volunteer to drive a 14 year old bucket truck dragging an Airstream to La Ventana, Mexico where he likely now lives.

It’s likely that is is another Solar Roads  Deja Vu all over again!

Luke Iseman – Founder of “Make Sunsets” and self-styled “defender of the planet,” from his public Facebook page

From the picture above, it looks like he might be dressed for “Burning Man” or, in his case is it “Cooling Man”?

From the “Make Sunsets” blog:

It’s Come To This

NOVEMBER 23, 2022

Really? You’ve got to be kidding me. Things aren’t *this* desperate that we need to mess with the stratosphere?!

This is a fair and sane reaction; much more reasonable than LFG!! Crazy Balloons FTW!! And, on a basic level, it’s right: climate change probably won’t lead to all people dying (probably is a necessary caveat here, as ecosystem collapse will obviously increase likelihood of nuclear war). And, we’re making progress! Of a sort. We’ll probably even wean ourselves off fossil fuels someday, maybe. But, we’re not going to do this and preserve a world worth living in unless we reflect sunlight now. 

Here are the 5 specific things that personally pushed me over the top to feel that I have a moral obligation to create as much global cooling as quickly as I safely can, in order of which they occurred:

….1. We can only mine ~10% of proven reserves to (maybe) stay below 1.5C. These reserves are already on company’s books and being increased. We will mine close to 100% of proven reserves, as articulated by normally-milquetoast Trudeau: “I’ve said many times that there isn’t a country in the world that would find billions of barrels of oil and leave it in the ground while there is a market for it.

….2. You know how you’ll occasionally read things like “some permafrost is melting, and there’s methane in there. This is bad”? Apparently you’re better read than the UN climate change folks. These terrifying charts assume 0 greenhouse gas emissions from permafrost meltingThis is what really pushed me over the top.

….3. We emit *a lot* of carbon. It’s wishful thinking to imagine decarbonization of agriculture, construction, or shipping by 2050, let alone civilization as a whole.
….4. Carbon capture and storage is great… in the lab. We’re <.006% of our way to 2050’s UN goal, and you need to make very rosy assumptions to *even vaguely* imagine a scenario where this works.

….5. There’s a big difference between 1.5C and 2C. Big as in most coral reefs and global famines big.

Unconvinced? Brace yourself

So yeah: we’re pretty properly fucked. But! There’s some hope. More on that next post;)https://makesunsets.com/blogs/news/test1

Looks like another sad case of climate derangement syndrome – Anthony