Not everything that can be done to fight climate change is a ‘good’ thing. Efforts by bioengineers to reduce global warming in the 2040s by spraying sulphur into the atmosphere have backfired, with effects being still felt in the 2050s.
Scientists from the World Meteorology Bureau confirmed today what has long been suspected – that the spraying of sulphur into the air back in the 2040s was the main cause of the decade-long drought we’ve seen in Asia. The decision to spray a million tonnes of sulphur into the atmosphere was taken by the UN when it became clear that it was the only way to protect very sensitive places such as Australia’s coral reefs and the Arctic tundra regions. Many scientists back then warned it would only be a temporary fix and there would be global complications. One of them was eminent biologist Buz Wilson.
In 2040 Buz was a member of the lobby group ‘scientists against sulphur.’ They campaigned against the spraying, claiming that plants would suffer, rainfall could be affected and we would end up with lots of acid rain. Not to mention the purple sky, of course.
We tracked down Buz at his Sydney lab today to ask him what he thought of today’s announcement:
Although my prediction was accurate, I wish I wasn’t. Billions of people in Asia have suffered food shortages because the monsoon failed for so many years. We needed to save the reefs, but alternatives were possible – we could have used mirrors in space instead. I’m glad this dreadful practice of spraying sulphur into the air has stopped, even though, unfortunately, it means temperatures have gone up again.
So there you have it – a scientist wishing he had been wrong. You saw it first here on CCNN.
Last Updated: 18 September 2009
news from the future,
WiFi is available throughout the Museum
All our phone, email and other contact details.
Become a Member for free admission, Explore magazine subscription and more.
Subscribe to our newsletters for the latest events, offers and information.