The CIA has announced that it will back a $630,000 study into fighting climate change through geoengineering, a move that some say will increase interest in the agency’s affairs and give birth to a lot of conspiracy theories.
The study will include the exploration of techniques such as solar radiation management and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Theories regarding the US government’s involvement in types of weather manipulation, including attempts to cloud-seed, have been discussed since the beginning of the Vietnam War. More recently, the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma and extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy have been called government creations by some.
Conspiracy theorists are also suspicious of the agency’s renewed interest in climate change after it closed its climate change research center in the face of criticism from House Republicans.
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"There's nothing nefarious going on here," a National Academy of Sciences spokesperson told NBC.
Geoengineering advocate from Harvard University, David Keith, said the practice is not a “super villain” scheme, but rather a cheap and simple way to reduce global warming.
Because geoengineering can be reasonably attempted without much effort and at a low cost, some are still concerned that there could be lone actors.
“Do we need to be concerned about China acting unilaterally?” Ken Caldeira, a panelist on National Academy of Sciences board, asked. “Is that just idle chatter, or is that something the US government should prepare for?
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During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China’s Weather Modification Office attempted to create rainfall over the suburbs instead of the new stadiums.