The tiny startup Make Sunsets, which had been experimenting with releasing sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight in order to cool the earth, said Wednesday it would cease operations for the time being and review its approach after the Mexican government cracked down on solar geoengineering.
The idea of releasing aerosols into the atmosphere to cool the earth has been around since the 1960's, but it had largely been relegated to science fiction until recently, as the urgency of climate change has become more apparent. The White House is currently coordinating a five-year research plan to study the idea, which is colloquially known as "solar geoengineering," and the quadrennial U.N.-backed Montreal Protocol assessment report for the first time included an entire chapter it.
Luke Iseman, a serial inventor and the former director of hardware at Y Combinator, believed all of that research was not happening fast enough. So he started tinkering with releasing sulfur dioxide particles into the atmosphere with balloons, raised venture capital to fund the startup, and brought on co-founder Andrew Song to manage sales.