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Nature & Environment CIA Investigates How Humans Can Control the Weather: Halting Climate Change

CIA Investigates How Humans Can Control the Weather: Halting Climate Change

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First Posted: Jul 22, 2013 10:57 AM EDT
Lightning
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Reading in England looks at higher-energy solar winds and its influence on lightning. As previous theories have suggested that lightning on Earth is triggered by cosmic rays, new evidence shows that thunderstorms may be influenced by other energy particles. (Photo : Flickr/John Fowler)

Storm from X-Men may have a bit of competition. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is funding a study with the US National Academy of Sciencees (NAS) that will investigate whether humans can use geoengineering to alter Earth's environment, potentially halting or stalling climate change.

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Geoengineering, or climate engineering, is a relatively new field. It involves the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth's climactic system with the aim of reducing global warming.  In this case, scientists will examine a range of techniques, including solar radiation management (SRM). This particular method involves launching material into Earth's atmosphere in order to try and block the sun's infrared radiation. This would limit global temperature rise, according to The Verge. In addition, the researchers will investigate capturing carbon emissions from the air and structures that eat air pollution.

That's not to say they'll test the techniques themselves, though. The focus of the current study will be to assess the current state of knowledge of geoengineering techniques and then use the information to inform future discussions about the topic. This is particularly important considering the fact that there are both pros and cons to using any of these techniques and the fact that they could greatly affect our planet.

"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," said Edward Price, a spokesman for the CIA, in an interview with Mother Jones.

In fact, the CIA sees climate change as a potential threat to global geopolitical security, according to NewScientist.com. By thoroughly analyzing mitigation options, the CIA hopes to gather a better understanding of the ways that climate change can be halted.

The whole project comes with a big price tag, though. It'll cost about $630,000 to conduct. Hopefully, the new research will be able to check the feasibility for some of these geoengineering methods.

In addition to CIA funding, the project will also be backed by NOAA, NASA and NAS itself. You can find more information about the current project here.

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