CIA finances geoengineering study on climate change
July 25, 2013 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is among the principal funding bodies of a scientific research program on using geoengineering to slow down or halt climate change. The 21-month $630,000 study will be administered by the US National Academy of Science (NAS). Alongside the CIA, the project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The science of geoengineering encompasses techniques of large-scale intervention on the Earth’s climatic system, aimed at controlling solar radiation and removing carbon dioxide from the environment. Its ultimate goal is to reduce global warming by removing a portion of greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and by causing the planet to absorb reduced amounts of solar radiation. The NAS study will be the first one of its kind at the Academy to be financially backed by an intelligence agency. In addition to exploring technical ways of altering the course of climate change, the study aims to evaluate the implications of geoengineering efforts on international security and American national security in particular. The CIA’s interest in climate science is not new. Since the middle of the last decade, intelligence agencies have shown interest in the national security ramifications of climate change, as well as in climate change negotiations between governments. In 2009, the CIA opened its Center on Climate Change and National Security, a small unit led by senior specialists from the Agency’s Directorate of Intelligence and the Directorate of Science and Technology. Its focus was on “the national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources”. The effort was able to survive early opposition from Republican lawmakers, who criticized it as a “misguided defense funding priority”. The CIA unit soon began sharing its classified data with climate scientists. But in 2012, with the departure from the CIA of the climate effort’s biggest supporter, CIA Director Leon Panetta, the center closed down, after Republican lawmakers pulled all funding. Mother Jones magazine spoke to CIA spokesperson Edward Price, who refused to comment on whether the CIA is indeed funding the NAS project. But he added that it is “natural” that the Agency would “work with scientists to better understand […] a subject like climate change […] and its implications on national security”.