Some People Think Bill Gates is Trying to Block the Sun

Bill Gates is often the focus of conspiracy theories. Whether it’s individuals claiming that Gates wants to microchip them with vaccines, or thinking that Bill Gates and the sun have major beef, there’s always something. But let’s backpedal for a second and address this Bill Gates and the sun situation. Recently, some folks have suspected that Bill Gates is trying to block the sun. While some think it’s a matter of combating global warming, others have more nefarious takes on the whole situation — as if for some reason Gates would stand to benefit from blocking out the sun. Here’s what Gates and the SCopEx project are actually working on.

Some people think Bill Gates is trying to block the sun

Bill Gates is not trying to block out the sun
Bill Gates is not trying to block out the sun | LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images

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Sometimes when people receive half-explained scientific sounding news, they jump to the worst conclusions. This seems to have been the case with Bill Gates and the sun. Gates recently backed a project that aims to reflect sunlight to combat climate change. 

However, without reading detailed information, conspiracy theorists allowed their imaginations to run rampant. Many came to the conclusion that Bill Gates is trying to block the sun for some nefarious purpose. 

“Oh dear god, this is how it ends isn’t it? How will bill gates afford to block the sun now?” Tweeted one concerned individual. 

“Still crazy to me that Bill Gates wants to block out the sun and people still can’t believe in weather manipulation and chemtrails,” added another misinformed individual

“Yes, Bill gates wants to Block the sun. The Sun is our life force. He also has been buying a lot of farm land. He is not human,” tweeted yet another conspiracy theorist.

So is Bill Gates trying to block the sun? No. He’s not. But before we address the details of the project he’s backing, we should learn more about solar geoengineering. 

What is solar geoengineering?

Bill Gates and the sun are probably on pretty neutral terms
Bill Gates and the sun are probably on pretty neutral terms | Nicolas Liponne/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When it comes to any new scientific theory or endeavor, it’s safe to assume that scientists are probably taking their time and following the scientific process carefully. The same is true when it comes solar geoengineering — the idea that technologies can help us to lower the global temperature by reflecting the sun’s rays back into space. 

Solar geoengineering currently involves two possible approaches — straospheric aerosol injection, SAI, and marine cloud brightening, MCB. 

SAI involves utilizing small particles in the upper atmosphere to help reflect sunlight. These would include sulfates or other aerosol particles, per the Union of Concerned Scientists. There is much anxiety over the potential long-lasting and global impact that SAI could have were it to be implemented immediately, and without further research. 

MCB involves utilizing sea salt, spraying it into marine clouds to enhance reflectivity to help reflect the sun’s rays. 

It is worth noting that these options are considered by some to be a last-ditch, critical scenario effort to save the planet if they should be needed. 

SCoPEx explains their project with Bill Gates

Phoebe Adele Gates, Bill Gates, and Melinda Gates
Phoebe Adele Gates, Bill Gates, and Melinda Gates | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

While individuals are concerned that Bill Gates is trying to block out the sun, it’s worth noting that this is not the case. Rather, Gates is merely helping to financially back SCoPEx, a project that aims to research SAI — not actively implement it in any grand scale. 

As it stands now, most research into solar geoengineering involves computer models, and so having any opportunity to do real-life research is valuable, even if it is small. 

“Such simulations are the primary tool for estimating the risks and benefits of solar geoengineering, but current limitations may make the simulations look too good. SCoPEx will make quantitative measurements of aspects of the aerosol microphysics and atmospheric chemistry that are currently highly uncertain in the simulations,” SCoPEx explains on their Harvard page

“It is not a test of solar geoengineering per se. Instead, it will observe how particles interact with one another, with the background stratospheric air, and with solar and infrared radiation.”

“Improved understanding of these processes will help answer applied questions such as, is it possible to find aerosols that can reduce or eliminate ozone loss, without increasing other physical risks?” they write. 

Essentially, SCoPEx is trying to increase our pool of available knowledge when it comes to SAI interactions, and even to see if there are alternative uses or routes for SAI to take that might be less globally impactful. Long story short, Bill Gates is not trying to block out the sun. 

David Keith, a Harvard professor working on the project explained, “It would be crazy to start deploying solar geoengineering today. It’s perhaps equally crazy to keep ignoring it.”