The US Central Intelligence Agency isn't just interested in gathering intelligence on foreign powers and enemies. As it turns out, Langley is also investigating the feasibility of altering the environment to fight the effects of climate change. The CIA is currently funding, in part, a $630,000 study on geoengineering, the science of using experimental techniques to modify Earth's climate, as Mother Jones reports. The 21-month-long study was commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences, a nonprofit group of scientific advisors to the government, and a final report on its findings is due to be published in the fall of 2014.
"a careful, clear scientific foundation."
The study calls for information on two geoengineering techniques in particular, "solar radiation management (SRM)," which refers to launching material into Earth's atmosphere to try and block the Sun's infrared radiation, limiting global temperature rise; and "carbon dioxide removal (CDR)," which refers to exactly what it sounds like, taking carbon dioxide emissions out of the climate, which scientists have proposed doing through a variety of means, from structures that eat air pollution to capturing carbon emissions as they come out of smokestacks. "This study is intended to provide a careful, clear scientific foundation that informs ethical, legal, and political discussions surrounding geoengineering," reads the description of the study on the National Academies website.