The UK will set up its own geoengineering trial on top of London's tallest building so that British physicists can continue to mitigate the effects of climate change by pumping sulphate particles into the atmosphere. The move is in response to fears that British scientists will no longer be able to take part in the European Union's flagship geoengineering programme once the UK leaves the EU in 2019.

Geoengineering involves pumping matter into the atmosphere in the hope that it will reflect sunlight back into space and offset the effects of global warming. In 2014, the EU's Zenith 2020 research-funding programme committed €100m to the European Sulphur Particle Environmental Watch (EuroSPEW) project. In January, EuroSPEW began injecting five tonnes of sulphate particles into the atmosphere every day from a specially built antenna at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The project currently includes 47 researchers from eight UK universities, whose participation in the project could end when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. "We have been told by Zenith 2020 that it can no longer provide long-term support for British scientists," says Iwana Ree-Maine of the University of Dorset, who is UK spokesperson for EuroSPEW. "We knew that we couldn't rely on public funding to set up a project in the UK so we put the word out to philanthropists."

Private funding

Luckily the team has been contacted by the meat-pie magnate and Brexit supporter Lee Vin, who is keen to offset methane emissions from the cows used to make his organic craft pies. "British cow emissions should be offset by British-made sulphate particles," says Vin.

Ree-Maine and colleagues will build a more modest £10m facility at the top of the Shard, 306 m above the streets of London. Despite being smaller than the Paris installation, the British effort could be more effective because it will not have to adhere to EU regulations. "Brussels won't be telling us what to do this time," says Vin, who adds that his business was nearly bankrupt by the 2007 European Directive on Gravy.

Top of the Rock

Last week, US president Donald Trump signed an executive order that cut funding to a similar project located on top of the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Critics, however, say that the real reason Trump wants to get rid of the facility is that it blocks his view of the Empire State Building from the penthouse suite at Trump Tower.