July 19, 2013
Does The CIA Want To Control The Weather?
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
In a move that sounds vaguely reminiscent of one of Dr. Evil's plans, the CIA is planning to investigate how humans could potentially control the global climate.The 21-month project being run by the National Academy of Sciences and partially being funded by the CIA "is intended to provide a careful, clear scientific foundation that informs ethical, legal, and political discussions surrounding geoengineering,"Â according to a statement on the National Academies website.
"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," CIA spokesman Edward Price told Mother Jones.
Geoengineering, or changing climate via artificial means, has been a hot topic recently as academics and politicians grapple with the idea of altering the planet on a global scale. One potential geoengineering idea the study is expected to investigate is solar radiation management. The strategy involves sending particles high into the atmosphere to reflect incoming sunlight. In theory, the resulting lower levels of sunlight reaching Earth could lead to a global cooling trend, mitigating global warming.
While some dismiss these supervillain-sounding schemes, David Keith, a geoengineering advocate from Harvard University, told Mother Jones that many of these proposals are "are fundamentally doable, relatively cheap, and do appear to be able to reduce climate risk significantly, but with risks."
If Keith is correct, then rogue countries or individuals could conceivably act unilaterally and use geoengineering to further their own ambitions. In July 2012, American entrepreneur Russ George seeded the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to create a gigantic plankton bloom that would absorb atmospheric carbon and sequester it at the bottom of the sea.
"This whole issue of lone actors: Do we need to be concerned about China acting unilaterally? Is that just idle chatter, or is that something the US government should prepare for?" asked Ken Caldeira, a member of the current National Academy of Sciences panel.
Some are speculating that the CIA's interest in geoengineering could be out of concern over these potential "lone actors."
The new project wouldn't be the first time the American government looked into manipulating the forces of nature. During the Vietnam War, the US military reportedly used a cloud seeding program in an attempt to flood the Ho Chi Minh Trail and gain a tactical military advantage. Years later, China's "Weather Modification Office" attempted to seed clouds ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and create rainfall in the Beijing suburbs instead of over their massive new stadiums.
The new, CIA-funded project is expected to strike a nerve with conspiracy enthusiasts, especially after the spy agency recently closed its climate change research center amidst heavy criticism from House Republicans. While the CIA is reportedly only funding part of the project, they have refused to comment on how they might use any knowledge gained from it.
Also, no word on whether the CIA is planning to use the project for weather control unless they receive a "hefty ransom," as Dr. Evil might put it.