In a move that sounds like the backstory to a science fiction film, the White House has approved an effort to develop ways of reflecting the sun’s rays so as to “temporarily temper the effects of global warming,” as an Oct. 13 CNBC report has it.
“While arguments of moral hazard have handicapped research efforts, the idea is getting more urgent attention in the worsening climate crisis,” CNBC says.
The five-year research plan is being coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which was tasked by Congress with developing a “scientific assessment of solar and other rapid climate interventions in the context of near-term climate risks and hazards.”
This effort will be incorporated in the congressional spending plan for 2022 that President Joe Biden signed this March.
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Among the climate intervention methods to be discussed include the the stratosphere to reflect sunlight back into space, a geoengineering technique that has been previously criticized for its potential to harm humans and other living organisms.
The plan is to include goals for research as well as the possible side effects for the planet.
“Some of the techniques, such as spraying sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, are known to have harmful effects on the environment and human health. But scientists and climate leaders who are concerned that humanity will overshoot its emissions targets say research is important to figure out how best to balance these risks against a possibly catastrophic rise in the Earth’s temperature,” CNBC reports.
“Sunlight reflection has the potential to safeguard the livelihoods of billions of people, and it’s a sign of the White House’s leadership that they’re advancing the research so that any future decisions can be rooted in science not geopolitical brinkmanship,” Chris Sacca, founder of the climate tech investment fund Lowercarbon Capital, was quoted as saying.
The plan has elicited concerns from those who argue against using “chemtrails” — a term previously associated with conspiracy theorists — in attempts to modify the climate.
As an Oct. 16 commentary piece by Ethan Huff of Natural News reads, “despite the obvious conflict of interest between Sacca’s business and the agenda of the Biden White House, Sacca insists that he has ‘zero financial interests beyond philanthropy.'”