New Energy Weekly – Good Air
India’s Geoengineering Opens Pandora’s Box
Some disheartening news out of India this week. Good air quality ranges from zero to 100. The air quality in Delhi hit 450. That’s more than four times over the limit. Air quality above 300 can cause illness and long-term health issues.
It was so thick that smoke and smog limited visibility. The air quality forced the government to close schools, restrict driving, and halt construction projects.
The air pollution comes from a mixture of vehicle emissions and burning crop fields. This happens every year at this time. The government’s new strategy to combat pollution is to manipulate weather.
I’m not a fan.
“Cloud seeding” is a technique where planes drop silver iodide salt into clouds. The silver iodide allows rain drops to form, causing the moisture in the cloud to fall earlier than it would naturally. According to the Desert Research Institute (DRI):
Cloud seeding is used all over the world as a method for enhancing winter snowfall and increasing mountain snowpack, supplementing the natural water supply available to communities of the surrounding area.
While I think cloud seeding can be effective for relieving drought, that’s not what the Indian Government plans. They want to create rain to clear pollution from the air. While it will help, the rain that falls due to cloud seeding is rain that won’t fall elsewhere.
By redirecting natural rainfall patterns, it can create problems in the places that won’t receive that moisture.
It’s also the wrong type of solution to this problem. Air pollution should be addressed at its source. But it’s easier for the government to avoid addressing things like vehicle emissions and agricultural practices. That would make them unpopular. It’s politically expedient to create rain now and kick the problem down the road.
It’s exactly the wrong response.
For the Good,
The Mangrove Investor Team