The Carbon Copy
The Carbon Copy
Mar 15, 2023
A rogue geoengineering startup sparks worry
Play • 26 min

A few weeks ago, TIME Magazine staff writer Alejandro de la Garza found himself on the floor of a hotel room in Nevada with two guys trying to cook sulfur dioxide out of a tin can. 

Luke Iseman and Andrew Song are the co-founders of Make Sunsets, a startup claiming to be implementing solar geoengineering by launching weather balloons filled with SO2 into the stratosphere.

Their first experimental launch in the Mexican state of Baja resulted in a swift regulatory response from the Mexican government. But when they ran another test launch a few weeks ago just outside of Reno, Nevada, Luke invited Alejandro to meet them. 

This week, we speak with Alejandro about his TIME profile of the risky startup. Plus, we talk with geoengineering experts, Dr. Holly Buck and Dr. Kevin Surprise.

“Any single person you talk to in solar geoengineering research, whether they're bullish or against it, they all think that what makes Sunsets doing is a bad idea,” explains Alejandro.

Make Sunsets represents a turning point for the field of geoengineering, when rogue actors are pushing it from academic debate into the real world. Is the company’s recent balloon launch an act of performance art – or an open door to an uncontrolled climate experiment?

Click here for a full transcript

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