Late on Friday, the White House released a report outlining the Biden Administration’s openness to studying geoengineering as part of an effort to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the planet.
Geoengineering is a controversial science of manipulating the climate for the stated purpose of fighting man-made climate change. There are several types of geoengineering, including Solar Radiation Management (SRM) or solar geoengineering. Stratospheric aerosol injection, or SAI, is a specific solar geoengineering practice which involves spraying aerosols into the sky in an attempt to deflect the sun’s rays. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is currently developing a five-year research plan on solar geoengineering.
The White House document focuses on “atmospheric–based approaches” to SRM, specifically SAI and marine cloud brightening (MCB). The report focused on these specific geoengineering approaches because of their “greater near-term feasibility” and the “greater governance challenges of atmospheric approaches” relating to the “significant trans-boundary impacts.” In other words, because these methods involve spraying particles from planes in the sky they will impact people regardless of where the lines on the map are drawn.
The Biden White House notes that if US science agencies began supporting a “large-scale program” of SRM they “could consider engaging in appropriate international cooperation.” This international cooperation, the White House argues, could promote knowledge, research needs and results, resource savings, best practices, and reduce the prospect of “irresponsible experimentation and/or deployment.”
The White House also notes that any “large–scale, multi–agency Federal research program” into SRM would be coordinated by the US Global Change Research Program, which focuses on “understanding the forces shaping the global environment, both human and natural, and their impacts on society.”
The Biden Administration also acknowledges concerns that governments or non-state actors could “move independently to develop and deploy SRM technologies“. The report calls for “identifying optimal international frameworks for cooperation, monitoring, deterrence, and response.” More than likely, such a framework would come out of the United Nations.
Overall, the Biden admin calls for further research into the scientific and societal implications of SRM to better inform decisions to come. However, the White House also said “there are no plans underway to establish a comprehensive research program focused on solar radiation modification.”
The White House’s own report was inspired by the 2021 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report, Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance.
That report concluded:
“it is the committee’s judgment that, subject to appropriate governance and oversight, outdoor experimentation could feasibly be pursued in a balanced manner” which would illicit “critical observations” but would be “small enough in scale to limit impacts”.
The authors of the NASEM report claim that such “small-scale” experiments would produce real-world impacts at a scale smaller than other “deliberate human activities that are freely undertaken by society.” The authors are also aware that advancing outdoor geoengineering programs too quickly could “induce public objections and subsequent delays or restrictions.”
Meanwhile, the White House report admitted that “previous research has raised concerns about possible shifts in sky coloration from SAI, and resulting psychological impacts, which would merit study.” This is a reference to the work of Ben Kravitz of the Carnegie Institution for Science which showed that releasing sulphate aerosols could decrease the amount of sunlight that hits the ground by 20% and make the sky appear more hazy. Ultimately, this haze could result in the loss of blue skies.
The White House report also states there is potential for SRM to be “maintained on timescales of decades, if not centuries.” This could be an acknowledgement that although proponents of geoengineering hail it as the solution to climate change and sustaining life, research indicates that geoengineering could actually have the reverse effect of heating Earth.
According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, if geoengineering programs were started and then suddenly halted the planet could see an immediate rise in temperatures, particularly over land. The study, titled “The impact of abrupt suspension of solar radiation management,” seems to indicate that once you begin geoengineering you cannot suspend the programs without causing the very problem you were seeking to resolve.
Further, in February of 2015, an international committee of scientists released a report stating that geoengineering techniques are not a viable alternative to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat the effects of climate change. The committee report called for further research and understanding of various geoengineering techniques, including carbon dioxide removal schemes and solar-radiation management before implementation.
The scientists found that solar geoengineering techniques are likely to present
“serious known and possible unknown environmental, social, and political risks, including the possibility of being deployed unilaterally.”
The European Union Calls for Global Governance
Two days before the White House announced their call for more geoengineering research, the European Commission announced support for “international efforts” to assess the risks of geoengineering and their desire to promote discussions on a “potential international framework for their governance.”
The European Commission also said attempts to alter the climate pose “unacceptable” risks and called for international talks on the dangers and governance of geoengineering.
“Nobody should be conducting experiments alone with our shared planet,” European Union climate policy chief Frans Timmermans told a news conference. “This should be discussed in the right forum, at the highest international level.”
The European Commission also released a statement which said SRM in its current form “represents an unacceptable level of risk for humans and the environment.”
Joanna Haigh, Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London, told Reuters that international governance models are necessary to deal with geoengineering experiments. “The governance of geoengineering will be hugely complex, but necessary to regulate any future geoengineering technologies that could feasibly lower global average temperatures,” Haigh stated.
One way or another, the geoengineering conversation is being used to promote the idea that there should be an “international framework” or “global governance models” to grapple with the realities of this untested technology. While it seems common sense to ask if governments should be cooperating if they are taking such a consequential step, we should also be asking whether or not we can even trust these governments to “play God” by messing with the climate, or whether this should be happening at all.
Since 2017, I have been warning that promotion of the technology known as geoengineering would be a gateway to global governance schemes which are themselves a stepping stone towards a singular, centralized governing body managing individual nations. The pronouncements delivered last week by the US government and the European Union represent one more step in that direction.
While these debates have mostly focused on the thoughts and opinions of government leaders and political pundits, the majority of the world is being left out of these discussions. It is absolutely vital for elected officials to discuss matters of such import, but we cannot allow the politicians alone to dominate the conversation. What of developing countries, indigenous communities, and local populations? Their voices must be heard in order to fully assess the risks of geoengineering.
Do the governments of the world care about the will of the people, or will they push forth with their agenda regardless of public opinion or concern? These are important questions which need to be considered among any debate on the potential of engineering the climate of our planet. One way or another, our lives and future depend on the outcome of this scientific debate.
For more on The Intelligence-Military-Weather Manipulation Complex, please read this.
For a much deeper look into the history of climate and weather engineering, please read this.
Source: The Last American Vagabond
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