The Central Intelligence Agency is helping to bankroll a study exploring ways to reverse global warming by controlling the weather, Slate and Mother Jones report. The CIA is giving more than $600,000 to the National Academy of Sciences for a study that will last for 21 months.
The NAS study, titled “Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts,” will be funded by the CIA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, according to the project statement. The NAS will be exploring several options to determine their effectiveness in controlling climate conditions with the possibility of using these techniques in the future to reverse global warming.
The project will test solar radiation management, SRM, and carbon dioxide removal, CDR, techniques. SRM techniques would either reflect or block sunlight but would not reduce greenhouse gases or their other harmful effects and would serve as a bandage to the issue, a quick albeit temporary fix.
The study will look at the impact of using SRM or CDR techniques, risks, potential consequences, cost, effectiveness in reducing ocean acidification, potential range and how quickly different they can be used. Other aspects of the study will include an examination of the history of geoengineering and its effect on society, public reaction, a discussion on other techniques not tested in the study and future research topics. National security concerns and international agreements already in place that would allow the deployment of geoengineering techniques will also be discussed in the study.
According to the experiment design, “This study is intended to provide a careful, clear scientific foundation that informs ethical, legal and political discussions surrounding geoengineering.”
The report, written by Dana Liebelson and Chris Mooney, states the project will cost $630,000 that will be split between the government agencies. In the experiment design it lists the support of “the U.S. intelligence community,” among the other agencies. An NAS spokesman told Mother Jones that referred to the CIA, but the spy agency did not comment on the claims it was looking at ways to manipulate the weather.
The Mother Jones report discusses the fear that geoengineering techniques could be launched by countries, companies or wealthy individuals to change climate for their own benefit. The report brings up the case of Russ George, who used geoengineering techniques to test releasing iron in the air that would increase the production of plankton that would then reduce the carbon dioxide in the air.
Geoengineering techniques are not new nor are they that difficult or expensive to implement, notes Mother Jones. Cloud seeding is the most well-known example of weather modification, although its effectiveness has been debated.
The idea of any government agency looking at ways to control, or manipulate, the weather will be met with scrutiny and fears of a malign conspiracies. In theory, the CIA could be looking at ways to reduce global warming but there is a fear it could also be weaponizing weather.
A previous government experiment, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, has been a central part of any conspiracy discussing government-controlled weather. HAARP, designed to study radio communication techniques using the ionosphere, is believed by conspiracy theorists to actually be everything from a way to modify weather, cause natural disasters or cause power outages. Another popular weather modification conspiracy involves chemtrails from jets or other aircraft.