Geoengineering Climate Change*
By Derrick Broze
In a new report, a team of 14 different organizations in Germany, the U.K., Norway, France, and Austria concluded that efforts to geo-engineer the climate are not without risk and not a substitute for reducing greenhouse emissions.
The project “European Trans-disciplinary Assessment of Climate Engineering” (EuTRACE) released their report, titled “Removing Greenhouse Gases from the Atmosphere and Reflecting Sunlight away from Earth,” which describes the limits and dangers of climate engineering schemes. Various methods for fighting climate change have been proposed, including controversial methods like Solar Radiation Management (SRM), which proposes spraying aerosols from planes in order to reflect sunlight.
EuTRACE was formed to provide a European perspective from scientific and non-expert stakeholders ranging from the natural sciences and engineering to social sciences and the humanities.
“It is not yet clear whether it is possible to develop and scale-up any proposed climate engineering technique to the extent that it could be implemented to significantly reduce climate change,” said Naomi Vaughan of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.
The report warns that nations should not rely on untested geo-engineering methods.
“It is important to understand the possibilities and problems associated with climate engineering proposals, in order to make decisions on them in a responsible manner,” said Mark Lawrence, the project’s coordinator and scientific director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam.
“But it would be irresponsible, based on all we know so far, to expect climate engineering to significantly contribute to solving the problem of climate change in the next several decades.”
Despite the warnings, the report said it was “sensible” to investigate techniques such as carbon capture and storage, SRM, or ocean iron fertilization.
One of the many dangers of manipulating the weather is the loss of blue skies. According to a report by the New Scientist, Ben Kravitz of the Carnegie Institution for Science has shown that releasing sulphate aerosols high in the atmosphere scatters sunlight. He says this could decrease the amount of sunlight that hits the ground by 20%, making the sky appear more hazy.
The controversy around geo-engineering has grown in recent years as more people ask whether or not climate engineering programs are already active. Most people who raise these questions are written off as conspiracy theorists by the corporate media. It is highly imperative to research the dangers of geo-engineering and consider the possibility that the U.S. (and other nations) may already be participating in live geo-engineering schemes without informing the public or the global community. Whether to combat climate change—or use as a weapon—altering the weather could have disastrous ramifications.
Believe it or not, the United States government has a history of weather modification. In a 1996 document entitled “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather by 2025,” the U.S. Air Force discussed a number of proposals for using weather as a weapon. The Environmental Modification Treaty was signed by the United States and other nations to halt global weather modification.
But the government did not simply research these ideas. It actually implemented them. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. government operated covert weather modification programs under Operation Popeye. The government does not only experiment with technology in foreign countries—it likes to try it at home, as well. In 2012, it was revealed that the U.S. Army sprayed toxic chemicals over the skies of St. Louis without informing the public.
It’s also now known that the government is currently practicing another form of geo-engineering known as cloud-seeding. This practice is done in an attempt to cause rainfall and snow in drought stricken areas or cause artificial precipitation in typically dry places. In fact, as AccuWeather reports, six test sites in the U.S. are being used now to employ drones to conduct the cloud-seeding process.
Geo-engineering and specifically, Solar Radiation Management, have increasingly been in the news as the global community looks for solutions to a host of environmental issues, including climate change. Another international committee of scientists released a report stating that using geo-engineering techniques to combat the effects of climate change is not a viable alternative to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The committee report called for further research and understanding of various geo-engineering techniques—including carbon dioxide removal schemes and SRM—before implementation. The scientists found that SRM techniques are likely to present “serious known and possible unknown environmental, social, and political risks, including the possibility of being deployed unilaterally.”
While speaking at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California, Professor Alan Robock offered a warning on geoengineering. Robock discussed the possibility that the Central Intelligence Agency is using the weather as a weapon of war. Robock has done research for the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) in the past.
Robock stated he was phoned by two men claiming to be from the CIA, asking whether or not it was possible for hostile governments to use geo-engineering—or mass manipulation of the weather—against the United States.
Robock noted that, “The CIA was a major funder of the National Academies report so that makes me really worried who is going to be in control.”
The National Academy of Sciences report examined the effects and possibility of geo-engineering to combat climate change. The report was also funded by NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Want to know more? Check out “Renowned Climate Scientist Fears the CIA Could Use the Weather as a War Weapon” for a Background on geo-engineering.