Geoengineer evasive on health risks of spraying

Geoengineer Alan Robock was evasive about the health impacts of “proposals” to spray us with nanoparticulate aluminium and barium

when questioned at the Paris Climate conference. I spoke to him at the only session at the conference where geoengineering was even mentioned: “Climate Intervention: Evaluating its Risks, Benefits, and Potential,” held July 9th, 2015 in small room at Marie Curie University, away from the main conference venue, UNESCO.

Here is the complete session:


Patrick Roddie: So anyway I did want to ask about the heath effects, because in your negatives I didn’t see anything about heath.

Alan Robock: Health of the sulfur?

PR: …or whatever is being proposed to be…

AR: We looked at sulfur in the stratosphere and my original list had acid rain because when it falls out it’s got to go through the troposphere, but we calculated how much it would be and compared to the acid rain we have today, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels it wouldn’t be very much extra – there might be some … I mean it’s not very good to breathe sulfuric acid but compared to what we have now, the buffering capacity of the land it wouldn’t really be a significant impact so I took that off. Now if you use other chemicals that are more dangerous – there have been some proposals to use titanium, aluminum or something – I don’t know if anyone’s done studies of the health effects. Certainly anything you put in the atmosphere is not going to be good for health but we thought food would be a much more important thing than those small effects from …

PR: But there’s a lot of research on the toxicity of aluminum and barium

AR: Well I don’t know why you bring up barium

PR: Well it’s in Dr. Keith’s paper, the photophoretic levitation of aerosol particles. Those discs? Top later aluminum oxide then aluminum metal and then…

AR: According to that they would never fall down they’d be levitated forever.

PR: Well, until the sun goes down! In any case it would be a large amount injected into the atmosphere and there are many …

AR: I don’t know. Yeah, except for that paper which sort of got published in …

PR: There’s another one

AR: Nobody’s really studying that I know of what massive injections of other chemicals… Cloud brightening is salt from the ocean which is there anyway and the stratosphere most people are focusing on sulfate aerosols.

PR: Well the first reference in my paper – the Pope article from 2012 -they talk about how sulfates are ineffective; they should be using aluminum and barium.

AR: OK, you’d have to ask them

PR: Yeah, OK. But um, I think it would be a good thing to concentrate on health

AR: Well we …

PR: Because Dr. Keith was asked about the health impact back in 2010.

AR: Yeah, he says the excess sulfur would kill a lot of people.

PR: He was answering a question about aluminum, because he was talking about putting so many megatons in the atmosphere and he said there was very little … the only research he had done he hadn’t published and that was back in 2010 and we haven’t heard a peep from him since.

AR: Well, you’ll have to ask him – I don’t know of any work on that.

PR: So did you get to read my paper? I know you didn’t like the font.

AR: I still have it – I didn’t have time.

PR: Do let me know.

AR: If you want people to pay attention you should submit it to a peer review journal so people can give you some feedback.

PR: I will; this was for the conference. All my references are peer reviewed.

AR: Sure, but still, your ideas…

PR: My idea is:- There’s literature saying that sulfates are ineffective because they coagulate and fall out of the sky and it’s been proposed by more than one person to put aluminum and barium in nanoparticulate form into the atmosphere and there’s a bunch of science and literature showing how those are highly toxic and …

AR: So, yeah, OK. So send it to a journal that … where people, you know, health effects of air pollution or something like that and where people with expertise unlike me who can evaluate that.


AR: I’ve got many other issues.

PR: I know you have many other things to do but I would request to add in your list health.

AR: OK – I just wanted to say I’ve got many other reasons why it’s a bad idea, so that’s not going to change my basic balancing.

PR: OK, thank you.

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