The CIA will partially fund a $630,000 study by the National Academy of Sciences that will investigate how humans could influence the Earth's climate using 'geoengineering.' According to Mother Jones' Dana Liebelson and Chris Mooney, the project will look into several techniques for altering the environment to prevent climate change. The first, known as "solar radiation management," works by pumping chemicals into the atmosphere that reflect some of the sun's rays back into space in order to reduce the amount of heat retained due to greenhouse gases.
The second method relies on removing greenhouse gases like carbon monoxide from the atmosphere to counteract the emissions from power plants and automobiles.
This technique has already been attempted on a small scale. Last year, an American entrepreneur named Russ George attempted to create an algae bloom that would theoretically suck CO2 out of the atmosphere by dumping iron filings into the Pacific Ocean. Much like fertilizer for plants, the filings provided vital nutrients to the algae and led to the formation of a large bloom.
The effectiveness of this method is still unclear. If the algae die and sink to the ocean floor, the CO2 they absorb is effectively sequestered. But if fish eat the algae before they can sink, their metabolism will re-emit those gases back into the atmosphere, cancelling out any environmental benefit. Many scientists assume that the latter is the more likely outcome, which is why the scientific community has for the most part condemned George's experiment.
As for why the CIA is involved with projects attempting to alter the Earth's climate, a spokesperson told Mother Jones, "It's natural that on a subject like climate change the Agency would work with scientists to better understand the phenomenon and its implications on national security."
- by Bob Yirka July 22, 2013
The CIA along with NASA and NOAA is reportedly funding a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) project whose goal is to study several geoengineering options aimed at reversing global warming.
Dana Liebelson and Chris Mooney have written an article which has been printed in both Slate and MotherJones claiming that William Kearney, a spokesman for NAS told them that the CIA is the "US intelligence community" member identified on the NAS web site describing the project.
Geoengineering projects are any attempts to alter the way the planet or its weather systems operate. The project at NAS is not to conduct any such engineering but to study several options that have been suggested by people in the geoengineering community as a means of reversing global warming. Such options include sending particles into the atmosphere to reflect back some of the sun's heat, or building a machine that could suck carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it somewhere.
NAS has been given $630,000 to conduct the study which is to last 21 months. More specifically, the project goals are to study ways in which weather patterns might be artificially influenced, assess possible negative impacts of doing so and to try to determine national security issues related to global warming or trying to reverse it.
The CIA has previously looked into the issue of global warming as it applies to national security and even had a research center dedicated to its efforts. That center was closed down last year, however, after members of the U.S. Congress objected to the agency's involvement in such activities. It's not yet known how government officials will respond to this new initiative or whether private entities (conspiracy theorists) will consider such funding part of a larger effort by the agency to exert control over the rest of the world.
To date, there have already been attempts to alter the weather - the U.S. military (carrying out a CIA plan) famously tried to make it rain more during the Vietnam War to bog down enemy supply lines. More recently, China tried seeding clouds prior to the Summer Olympics hoping to cause rain to fall before reaching Beijing. A private company also recently seeded a portion of the ocean off the coast of Canada with the idea of igniting plankton growth that would suck carbon out of the air. Unfortunately, testing whether any such efforts have actually worked has proven difficult, if not impossible - how can you determine if the amount of rain that fell after cloud seeding, was more than it would have been otherwise?
Due to its efforts, it's clear the CIA is taking the issue of global warning very seriously. Changes in geography, could for example, cause wars. If snow pack melts, more land becomes available, also new shipping lanes will open up - both could become zones of contention. There is also the possibility of strife as some areas receive more rainfall and others less.
For its part, NAS will be building on research that has already been conducted by other groups. The U.K.'s Royal Society, for example, conducted a similar study back in 2009.
The academy insists that it will make all findings public once the study is complete.