The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is preparing to launch a study that will evaluate “a limited number of proposed geo-engineering techniques,” such as solar radiation management, to determine their impacts and potential risks. One of those risk areas — national security — is most likely the reason why one of the study’s supporters, according to NAS spokesperson William Kearney, is the CIA. Together with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agencies will share the $630,000 allocated for the 21-month project.
What’s the Big Idea?
The US government’s interest in geoengineering is by no means new: During the Vietnam War, military scientists tried a variety of weather-altering tactics in order to gain an advantage. From 2009 until late last year, the CIA operated a climate change research center designed to do what this new study plans, in part, to do. Today, says Harvard research David Keith, many geoengineering proposals “are fundamentally doable, relatively cheap, and do appear to be able to reduce climate risk significantly, but with risks.” No doubt the CIA’s concern is: If it’s that simple, does that mean any evil genius with money could do it?