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Go ahead and alter the atmosphere, no one’s going to stop you — probably

The city skyline at sunset, hazy with pollution.
A skyline at sunset in Mexico City, Mexico, Lomas de Chapultepec. | Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A de facto moratorium on solar geoengineering will stay in place after heated talks at the United Nations Environment Assembly ended in a stalemate. The debate is over whether to let people launch particles into the sky that would reflect sunlight back into space, ostensibly cooling down the planet.

It’s a hotly contested tactic for tackling climate change. Geoengineering does nothing to stop what’s actually causing the problem: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. And tinkering with the makeup of our planet and its atmosphere in order to reflect solar radiation could lead to unforeseen consequences that scientists are still trying to understand. After all, the climate change we’re already experiencing — in the form of rising…

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