The Central Intelligence Agency is among several government agencies funding a $630,000 study to see whether geoengineering can be used to stop global warming, Mother Jones reports
The National Academy of Sciences will run the 21-month study, which is the first of its kind supported by an intelligence agency. The NAS and CIA are co-funding the study with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.
The CIA's involvement might stoke conspiracy theorists' fears, Mother Jones admits, though the NAS's website claims the study will look at "a limited number of proposed geoengineering techniques" that could help reverse global warming, such as solar radiation management, which would pump particles into the stratosphere to reflect some of the sun's rays away from Earth.
Another proposal would involve removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Risks of any such plans would be among the factors considered, which is one reason the CIA might be involved. Some of the techniques are relatively inexpensive and easy to do, Harvard researcher David Keith told Mother Jones.
That would mean foreign countries or a well-off individual could pull some of them off for possible nefarious purposes, and that might affect national security.
A Geoengineering researcher at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology wonders about that, too.
"This whole issue of lone actors: Do we need to be concerned about China acting unilaterally?" he asked. "Is that just idle chatter, or is that something the U.S. government should prepare for?"
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