The appropriations process is what Congress uses to make decisions about how the federal government will spend discretionary funds – funds that aren’t already designated to mandatory spending. The spending package that passed both chambers of Congress and was signed by the president in December 2019 accounts for $1.4 trillion in spending, from national defense to housing to climate science. Within that almost incomprehensible amount, there was a small, yet important $4 million earmark that merits scrutiny: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was given this money specifically to conduct solar geoengineering research, the first time in the United States that Congress has allocated money to a federal agency to do so. Read more >
January 24, 2020 2:36 PM EDT
April 19, 2019 10:30 AM EDT
Solar geoengineering describes a set of approaches that would reflect sunlight to cool the planet. The most prevalent of these approaches entails mimicking volcanic eruptions by releasing aerosols (tiny particles) into the upper atmosphere to reduce global temperatures – a method that comes with immense uncertainty and risk. We don’t yet know how it will affect regional weather patterns, and in turn its geopolitical consequences. One way we can attempt to understand potential outcomes are through models.
April 5, 2019 10:30 AM EDT
Climate change threatens public health, food security, water availability, and national security – just to name a few areas of impact. Dramatic reductions in emissions and increased investments in measures to adapt to unavoidable impacts are essential but may not be enough to limit severe climate risks—and to date, these actions have fallen far short of what is needed. Some researchers are proposing to do experiments to also test the potential feasibility and effectiveness of geoengineering approaches to help limit climate change, while recognizing that mitigation and adaptation must remain our first-line solutions.
February 10, 2015 4:23 PM EDT
February 10, 2015 2:41 PM EDT
The president’s science advisor John P. Holdren has often observed that humanity has three basic options for dealing with climate change: Mitigation (reducing heat-trapping emissions), adaptation (coping with unavoidable impacts of climate change), and suffering. The more swiftly we both mitigate and adapt, the less suffering we endure and impose on future generations.
Suppose, however, that we falter and temperatures continue to rise to dangerous levels. In a climate emergency, facing high risks of major and otherwise unavoidable impacts, should the U.S. or other governments consider forced cooling of Earth by injecting reflecting aerosol particles into the stratosphere? Read more >