The move, which has not been reported before, marks the first such federal coordination effort in the United States. It could lay the groundwork for more funding and research into the feasibility, benefits and risks of such interventions. The effort may also contribute to the perception of geoengineering as an appropriate and important area of research as global temperatures rise.
Solar geoengineering includes a range of different approaches.that is got the most attention Airplanes or balloons are being used to disperse tiny particles in the stratosphere. In theory, these would reflect enough sunlight to mitigate warming, mimicking the effects of past massive volcanic eruptions.Some research groups have also explored whether releasing certain particles could break up cirrus cloudsthey trap heat on the earth, or make low-lying ocean clouds more reflective.
2022 Federal Appropriations ActSigned by President Biden in March, directs his Office of Science and Technology Policy to work with NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Defense to create an interagency team to coordinate efforts on such climate interventions Research. vitality.
The measure requires the group to create a research framework to “provide guidance on transparency, engagement, and risk management for public funding of solar geoengineering research.” Specifically, it directs NOAA to support the Office of Science and Technology Policy in developing a A five-year plan that includes identifying research goals in the field, assessing the potential harms of such climate interventions, and assessing the federal investment needed to do this work.
Geoengineering has long been a taboo topic for scientists, and someone argues It should remain one. There are questions about potential environmental side effects and concerns that different parts of the world will be affected unevenly. It is unclear how the world will respond to tough questions about global governance, including who should decide whether to deploy such a powerful tool and what global average temperature we should target. Some argue that geoengineering is too dangerous to attempt or even investigate, arguing that merely talking about the possibilities may make the need to address the root causes of climate change less urgent.
But as the threat of climate change increases and major countries fail to make rapid progress on emissions, more researchers, universities and nation The potential impact of these approaches is being carefully explored. In turn, a handful of prominent scientific groups have called for stricter standards to guide the work, or more money to do it, or both.These include the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, last year recommended Establish a US solar geoengineering research program with an initial investment of $100 million to $200 million over five years.
While proponents of geoengineering research stress that emissions reductions must remain the highest priority, say we should explore these possibilities Because they may meaningfully reduce the dangers of climate change. As heatwaves, droughts, famines, wildfires and other extreme events become more common or severe, these climate interventions may be one of the few available means to quickly alleviate widespread human suffering or ecological disaster, they noted.
The development of standards
In a statement, the Office of Science and Technology Policy confirmed that it had formed an interagency task force as required by the federal funding bill. It includes representatives from 10 research and mission agencies, including NOAA, NASA and the Department of Energy.