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The CIA Wants To Know How To Control the Climate

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the fire-the-hurricane-gun dept.

United States 238

Taco Cowboy writes " The CIA is currently funding, in part, a $630,000 study on geoengineering, the science of using experimental techniques to modify Earth's climate. Scientists will study how humans might influence weather patterns, assess the potential dangers of messing with the climate, and investigate possible national security implications of geoengineering attempts. 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),' 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."

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238 comments

The US just has to control everything, eh? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315705)

Hmm.

Re:The US just has to control everything, eh? (2)

lxs (131946) | about 9 months ago | (#44316363)

After earthquake control [realclearpolitics.com] where do you go as an agency? Remote viewing? Mind control lasers? That's so 1970s. Let's face it, in this harsh world you're only as good as your latest doomsday weapon.

sequester (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315707)

more sequester, more sequester. they still have too much money.

Obvious (5, Insightful)

BSAtHome (455370) | about 9 months ago | (#44315711)

The most obvious answer is always the one (almost) never thought of or mentioned: stop polluting the planet.

Re:Obvious (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about 9 months ago | (#44315715)

Always thought, never mentioned.

Re:Obvious (5, Insightful)

gigaherz (2653757) | about 9 months ago | (#44315723)

To expand on it: avoiding pollution can be expensive, and it's not in anyone's immediate interests to spend money just to be greener. People can think long-term, but corporations are usually short-term money-making machines, so green is only ever used as a PR measure to paint themselves more attractive, or avoid taxes.

Re:Obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315775)

And corporations are charted by, the rules by which they must act are determined by... who?

Any problem with corporations is a problem with the government.

Re:Obvious (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 9 months ago | (#44316481)

Any problem with corporations is a problem with the government.

In a democracy, any problem with the governemnt is a problem with the people.

The summarization of the summary of the summary is left to the reader.

Re:Obvious (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 9 months ago | (#44315805)

It's not just the corporations. Actually most of the corporations like being in a somewhat affluent society. They are much cleaner than they otherwise would be. Consider here in the US we have more forest than we had 100 years ago, we have about doubled the cars on the road since the 70s and held emmisions mostly constant. Our carbon foot print is big because our living standard is high but if you look at and activity basis rather than a per capita basis we do things with higher carbon efficiencies than most of the world.

Think about cooking, driving, electrical generation etc. compare the carbon output of the way we usually do those activities to say India, or Chad.

Running around trying to manage all the greenhouse gas sources only works when you have piles of money to throw at the problem and even then it does not achieve the goal of preserving our comfortable life style and stopping climate change, it demands sacrifice and sacrifice sucks!

Geoengineering or centralized carbon scrubbing is the future, that or radical population controls. I am more comfortable with the former, I bet most people will be too when they sit down and think on it. What's sad here is its the spooks behind this instead of transparent organization

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315863)

Geoengineering or centralized carbon scrubbing is the future, that or radical population controls. I am more comfortable with the former

On the other hand, having more wars, famine and disease will probably go a long way toward the latter. Goodbye, UN, WHO etc.

Re:Obvious (4, Informative)

Poeli (573204) | about 9 months ago | (#44315913)

Our carbon foot print is big because our living standard is high but if you look at and activity basis rather than a per capita basis we do things with higher carbon efficiencies than most of the world.

Most (western) European countries have an equally high living standard but a considerable lower carbon footprint. I doubt that bringing activity into the calculation will change much...

Re:Obvious (1)

fazig (2909523) | about 9 months ago | (#44315983)

No, no, no, mister. You can't consider anything a 'high living standard' that is below leaving your car running while you go shopping, so that the air condition can keep it nice and cozy until you get back.

Re:Obvious (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#44316179)

I disagree! You can have remote start, so that the car is nice and cool when you first get in, not just while shopping!

(I actually have remote start, but for the winter when you can't see out the front window until the defroster starts working so you end up sitting in the driveway for 5 minutes anyway.)

Re:Obvious (0)

fazig (2909523) | about 9 months ago | (#44316331)

I usually used an ice scraper to "defrost" windshields. It's not as fun as just sitting down in your preheated car but it does work. Certainly, the usage requires me to burn some calories which requires oxygen and emits carbon dioxide, and to compensate for that I need to eat food. And what do you know, the ice scraper is made from fossil fuels. But it's still less wasteful than starting the engine of your car when you don't use it as vehicle.

But lately I rely more upon public transport, while sacrificing some of my convenient spare time, it is cheaper AND quite reliable here in (Western) Europe to use public transport, at least for a single person, who doesn't need to buy food for a whole family.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316475)

I usually used an ice scraper to "defrost" windshields.

Now try doing that when it's so cold that your windows have frosted on the inside as well.

Re:Obvious (0)

danbert8 (1024253) | about 9 months ago | (#44316479)

For frost, yes a scraper is more effective. But it won't do anything for the inevitable fogging that will occur when you breathe in the vehicle. You shouldn't drive a vehicle that isn't warmed up in the winter time even if you have scraped the ice off the windows. It's not good for your engine, and your engine doesn't run as efficiently until it is warm.

Re:Obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316569)

For frost, yes a scraper is more effective. But it won't do anything for the inevitable fogging that will occur when you breathe in the vehicle. You shouldn't drive a vehicle that isn't warmed up in the winter time even if you have scraped the ice off the windows. It's not good for your engine, and your engine doesn't run as efficiently until it is warm.

You could not be more wrong.

Modern fuel injection systems are quite efficient during the warm-up phase,
and synthetic oils make driving 15 seconds after engine start practical.

Ice doesn't occur on the inside of the windows unless you sleep in your car.
Of course, given your level of idiocy, you probably have to sleep in your car
because you are too imbecilic to afford a home.

Re:Obvious (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#44316603)

I usually used an ice scraper to "defrost" windshields.

I have to use that in addition to the defroster. It gets the chunks off, but you still can't see anything. Believe me, before remote start I was not just sitting there in the car freezing my ass off for no reason. This is at 6:30 in the morning. Public transit is not an option because the transfer and destination stations are not safe add odd hours.

Re:Obvious (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 9 months ago | (#44316739)

I usually used an ice scraper to "defrost" windshields. It's not as fun as just sitting down in your preheated car but it does work. Certainly, the usage requires me to burn some calories which requires oxygen and emits carbon dioxide, and to compensate for that I need to eat food. And what do you know, the ice scraper is made from fossil fuels. But it's still less wasteful than starting the engine of your car when you don't use it as vehicle.

Hey you know what, so do I. You know what happens if there is humidity in the air and you have a cold windshield? Your windshield will frost right back up while driving. Not exactly a smart thing to do, so I either warm up the car until the ice melts, or I scrape the ice and warm up the car until the ice can melt.

Re:Obvious (5, Insightful)

internerdj (1319281) | about 9 months ago | (#44316169)

I'm definitely in the camp that Americans need to do more but that is a bit disingenuous comparison. It looks like the Western European Country with the lowest population density is three times the population density of the US. That has huge public transportation ramifications.

Re:Obvious (1)

Quantum gravity (2576857) | about 9 months ago | (#44316775)

You have a point in that Europe has a higher population density than the US, but some European countries are less actually less dens.

Country Density Carbon efficiency
- - - - -
USA 35 pop/km2 1.77 CO2 emissions/$ GDP
Sweden 23 pop/km2 0.7 CO2 emissions/$ GDP
Norway 16 pop/km2 0.74 CO2 emissions/$ GDP

That said Sweden and Norway probably have an advantage in having plenty of waterpower.

Re:Obvious (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44316111)

Our carbon foot print is big because our living standard is high but if you look at and activity basis rather than a per capita basis we do things with higher carbon efficiencies than most of the world.

Think about cooking, driving, electrical generation etc. compare the carbon output of the way we usually do those activities to say India, or Chad.

That's a bit of a cop-out. Your standard of living is pretty good but comparable or better levels exist in countries where the carbon footprint is lower. Activity basis is a flawed measure because as you become more efficient it goes down. For example transporting things long distances is activity but often quite wasteful and unnecessary.

Comparing yourself to India or Chad is just ridiculous, try France of the UK or other western European countries.

Re:Obvious (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#44316215)

Comparing yourself to India or Chad is just ridiculous, try France of the UK or other western European countries.

I'd bet the US holds up quite well, especially since Europe started buying our surplus coal. I'd wager that a European city dweller is pretty much on par with a US city dweller, and the French in the countryside pretty much mirror the people in the US countryside. I'd also bet that any discrepancy is due to automobiles, since the US likes big engines and don't penalize as much for that taste. Even there, I'd bet the discrepancy has fallen quite a bit in recent years as our standards have tightened and European standards were already so good that further improvements are marginal.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316371)

"I'd wager that a European city dweller is pretty much on par with a US city dweller"

Most people in Europe live in cities, and cities in Europe don't require a car to do basic everyday tasks. We have a very robust public transportation system (which includes inter-city high-speed trains). You can live absolutely car-free in almost all cities in Europe. That's a very big difference regarding energy consumption.

Re:Obvious (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#44316587)

That's a good point, though it is changing in the US. You can live car-free in Philadelphia and Boston now, thanks to car sharing services. New York has always been mostly car-free (I lived there without cars for about 5 years). Buses take you from city to city (Chinatown bus) in the Northeast for less than $20. My wife recently took the bus from Philly to the Jersey shore, and it wasn't much worse than driving (time wise).

Re:Obvious (2)

hrvatska (790627) | about 9 months ago | (#44316743)

West European countries would need to significantly raise their energy consumption or the US drastically lower its to have the US start approaching European levels of energy consumption. Even comparing urban dwellers, US cities tend to be much more car centric. You just can't consider living a middle class life in a great many US cities without a car for each working person. This is much less the case in Europe. And while the US has made great strides in improving the energy efficiency of its cars, West Europeans tend to drive much more fuel efficient cars than people in the US. It's not so much that people in Western Europe are more virtuous than people in the US, but that fuel is just so much more expensive. Raise the price of gasoline to $7/gal in the US and people would be driving very fuel efficient cars in a hurry. And then consider nuclear power. While it doesn't affect total energy consumption, it does affect a country's carbon footprint. France and Sweden dwarf the US in nuclear energy per capita. The Nordic countries rival the US in energy consumption, but I suspect a lot of that has to do with heating. It would be interesting to compare Minnesota to Norway.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316155)

your forgetting all the industrial applications, bulldozers and the like, ships, airplanes/aircraft, you could go on and on. I seriously question who and how these studies are done! To say that were a leader in emissions output or control is a stretch, and those studies are done to try and place blame on other countries since there are a lot of narrow minded people who forget this is a world problem. And the US has the money & resources to make going green happen, but it is the corporations that make sure it never happens, they are the ones with there hands up the asses of politicians with there brides.

Another argument, you could use, is the number of many people believe this is gods will, and or humans will not be here forever.

ANd the problem with those the forests are the wildfires, and no one putting in a standard in place to allow or even promote brush fires in the forests to burn up the smaller growth, and allows the taller older tress to stay standing with out the fear of them combusting up in flames like toothpicks.

Re:Obvious (0)

Nyder (754090) | about 9 months ago | (#44316247)

.. Consider here in the US we have more forest than we had 100 years ago, ...

I really have to call bullshit on this. This is like people saying "There is more people alive today then ever died." Statements that sound great, but can't be proved.

While I'm sure we plant more trees now then we did 100 years ago, and are better with logging, but what exactly is going on?

They are cutting old growth timber/forest down and replacing it with new little trees. Does anyone of those trees really replace what was cut? it took hundreds of years for the trees that were cut to grow, but it's okay, because they have been replaced.

Where I live, a 100 years ago the population was 1,141,990 and now it's 6,897,012. You going to tell me that we really housed almost 6million people in 100 years and now have more trees?

My guess even if we have more trees number wise, we have less trees volume wise.

Re:Obvious (1)

SlashV (1069110) | about 9 months ago | (#44316577)

You call bullshit for the wrong reason. The problem of the GP's statement lies not in whether there are or are not more trees/forests than a 100 years ago, but in the fact that he considers a 100 years to be a long time. The whole climate change discussion suffers from this. Surely we will be OK in the next 50 or a 100 years as well. But if you actually care about the future of our species and that of the planet in general, a 100 years is nothing. The fact that we *can* see the climate change in just a persons' lifetime should be scary enough for anyone!

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316671)

On the other hand, young trees grow faster than old trees, and so sequester carbon at a faster rate. The best method we have of removing carbon from the atmosphere is this process:

1. Cut down trees and build something permanent with the wood, which is composed of approx. 50% carbon removed from the atmosphere.

2. Plant new trees. Goto step 1 as soon as feasible.

A tree that dies in the forest releases tons of carbon into the atmosphere. A tree that is turned into a house removes tons of carbon from the environment for a hundred years or more.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315835)

Especially as the economy uses to run on oil, which can usually only converted into energy based on an imperfect chemical reaction.
Usually the risks are just shifted to the user and therefore spread so far until it becomes a problem instead of inhibiting it in the first place.

Geoengineering? Plant some forests in strategically important areas.

Re:Obvious (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#44315907)

It's not the reaction that's the problem - it's close to 100% complete in a properly maintained car - but that turning the heat into useful work is not trivial. You can get more useful work out of the same energy with, say, a gas turbine.

Expensive = Less Green (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 9 months ago | (#44316003)

Consider this: since our economy is based on carbon fuels (renewable sources are very small), every dollar (or euro or yuan) goes into creating carbon emissions.

  0. If you buy stuff or services, where does the money go?
  1. To the seller (20%) - who pays for stuff (goto 0), services (goto 0), and fuel (heat, electricity, personal transportation - carbon emissions)
  2. To the distributer (20%) - who pays for stuff (goto 0), services (goto 0), and fuel (heat, electricity, transportation - carbon emissions)
  3. To the shipper (5%) - of which most goes to fuel (carbon emissions), and the rest goes for stuff (goto 0), and services (goto 0)
  4. To the producer (55%)
  5. And the producer pays for wages for people [to buy stuff (goto 0), services (goto 0), fuel (heat, electricity, manufacturing - carbon emissions)] and raw materials [which used carbon-based fuels for extraction/mining/refinement/etc. and results in carbon emissions]

With the industrial revolution switch from human power to machine power, the entire economy is based on us paying for energy. The root of all transactions are to pay for fuel. Nobody "pays" for crop growth or minerals - dollars don't flow to mother nature or the ruler of the earth as a dead-end, just to the people who use energy to promote growth or extract minerals. If the economy were based entirely on real/near-time solar sources (sun, wind, hydro) and nuclear, that would be a different equation as all roads wouldn't lead to carbon emissions. But even buying a solar panel or windmill is non-green, as current technology spends as much in fossil fuel to mine, refine, produce, distribute, install, and maintain the equipment as you get back in power.

Now, that kind of sucks, but it does offer insight into how to *truly* reduce carbon emissions, and that is to minimize your lifecycle costs for everything. Being efficient *is* being green if you're at the end-user point where you cannot control the mix of energy production sources. If you are at the energy producer level (which is almost none of us), you can control carbon emissions through the selection of source - coal, oil, nat gas. (I leave out nuclear and solar, as they are simply purchasers of carbon-based materials like the rest of us, and I leave out fiber incineration/contemporary organics as that's primarily an oil-based source as oil is used for promotion, harvest, and transportation).

Re:Expensive = Less Green (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 9 months ago | (#44316281)

But even buying a solar panel or windmill is non-green, as current technology spends as much in fossil fuel to mine, refine, produce, distribute, install, and maintain the equipment as you get back in power.

Might be the case, but it needn't be. Much of the energy required to produce something like a solar panel or wind turbine can itself come from renewable resources.

But your point about improving end use efficiency is dead on: one unit saved at point of use could result in dozens or hundreds of units saved as you go up the supply chain.
=Smidge=

Re:Expensive = Less Green (1)

LtNacho (2712541) | about 9 months ago | (#44316487)

I agree with this in theory, but in practice the cheaper stuff is the more people buy (and throw away rather than fixing).

Re:Obvious (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 months ago | (#44316057)

It is in the interest of politicians (especially those getting in on the Al Gore ground-floor) to penalize pollution and generate a "carbon credit" economy where pollution is "okay as long as you're paying money to trade credits for it". It's a no-brainer investment. Corporations get to keep polluting and people who gin up fervor over pollution get to actually personally profit from pollution.

(Hint: If they actually cared, they would just put pollution limits to protect people and land. That they're just using it as a mechanic for revenue generation in a secondary market makes it pretty clear they give no fucks).

Re:Obvious (1)

tsa (15680) | about 9 months ago | (#44316141)

Indeed. And because the corporations can not be counted upon to 'go green.' So the government has to force them to do that. And because the US and other countries are governed by corporations, nothing will happen until the corporations see their profits deminish because of global warming or other causes that they can do something about. For instance, fish factories are already working on and implementing sustainable methods of catching and/or breeding fish, because if they wouldn't they would go out of business. Hopefully it's not too late before Big Oil starts acting to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Re:Obvious (1)

RoboJ1M (992925) | about 9 months ago | (#44316033)

"carbon dioxide removal (CDR),' taking carbon dioxide emissions out of the climate"

Have they also considered not bulldozing every tree in sight?

Re:Obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315767)

The most obvious answer is always the one (almost) never thought of or mentioned: stop polluting the planet.

Like healthcare is really any different? They don't fix the food supply. They don't worry about changing people's mentalities towards obesity. Hell no, there's far too much profit to be made from treating the patient (or planet) than actually curing the problem.

In the end, taxpayers we'll fund another 10 billion towards this (due to corrupt lobbying) to make a few people very rich, and not a damn thing will change for the better in the environment, because no one is looking for a cure, only perpetual funding streams matter.

Re:Obvious (4, Insightful)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 9 months ago | (#44315773)

Exactly this. $630,000 that could be used to educate and bring awareness to the people. We are the ones targeted by products, and we have to make an informed choice about what is useful vs what is damaging. Isn't that also known as "geoengineering"? I believe it is, and on a global scale too.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315887)

Agreed, secondly. How can you trust ANYTHING that comes out of mouths of these children, how can we TRUST that they won't use any developments that come out of this as an offensive weapon? Why, oh why is the CIA of all nefarious organizations doing this? Surely these bozos have the wrong pay grade.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315903)

Most obvious?

They want to kill people with lightning! And flash floods, tornadoes and blizzards! But mostly lightning!
LIGHTNING!

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315963)

You do realize that for you to have a computer where you read slashdot and write these nice comments a lot of pollution had to happen, right? Polluting is a byproduct of activities like feeding the population, fabricating all the stuff people want (and you clearly want that stuff because you're using it), keeping us warm and so on.

The current human population could not be sustained without a lot of side-effects. Of course corporations are evil and selfish, human beings who reproduce too much are not. If geoengineering works, it's a whole lot better than having to go through all the horrible sacrifices that reducing pollution implies (cold, hunger, possible population control).

Re:Obvious (3, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 months ago | (#44316049)

That seems to completely miss the point. The CIA doesn't give a shit about "climate change" or whatever we're calling it this week. They care about ability to and implications of controlling and weaponizing weather. Some asian country giving the USA shit? Send a hurricane their way. Some south american country not playing along with US policy or making us look bad? Cause an earthquake. Want to bolster US corn syrup? Cause an extensive drought in sugar producing regions of other nations.

Re:Obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316259)

I hope that was sarcastic. I really hope so. If not...

It is not possible to weaponize weather in any meaningful way. The energy requirements, for one, are insane... http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/C5c.html

The CIA, however, is seriously interested in climate change to know how that will affect geopolitics in other countries, as it will cause destabilization in some regions from drought and lack of food.

Also, Asian countries don't get hurricanes, they get typhoons. And earthquakes are not related to the climate. And corn syrup comes from corn, not sugar cane.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316055)

"stop polluting" geez that's a highly ignorant answer, why not tell babies "stop being babies" while you at it.

One major issue to pollution is our current economic system. At present our economy is based solely on the creation of infinite products out of finite resources, which of course is stupid all by itself but hey that's how it works. Why is this important you say? Well think about it a little, if you were to implement heavy anti-pollution tactics on an economy that's based on heavy production you'll end up with an ... you guessed it (or not) economic crisis. Simply put our economy is incompatible with the environment and this cannot be fixed unless our economic system is changed, which is highly unlikely to happen.

Pollution cannot be stopped, it can be mitigated until technology can be created to completely recycle waste products or convert those waste products to energy or anything in-between. Our current recycling methods are hardly efficient and or cost effective this is why for the most part pollution is an after thought for every company out there because it can cripple production.

Want to know something funny? If every person on Earth gave a dime each to develop tech that would allow for highly efficient and cost effective recycling methods it would have been done within a year and we wouldn't even have this conversation.

Re:Obvious (2)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#44316317)

At present our economy is based solely on the creation of infinite products out of finite resources

Premise is wrong. The economy is about the same thing that economies are about - distributing scarce resources to make things and services of value which are themselves scarce. If it were somehow true, then why would producing infinite products of value out of finite base materials be somehow "stupid" rather than really useful? Last I checked, infinite was bigger than finite so that looks to me to be stretching the usefulness of those finite resources quite a bit.

Simply put our economy is incompatible with the environment and this cannot be fixed unless our economic system is changed, which is highly unlikely to happen.

There are other choices such as accepting some degree of harm to the environment, which don't require this supposed "fix".

If every person on Earth gave a dime each to develop tech that would allow for highly efficient and cost effective recycling methods it would have been done within a year and we wouldn't even have this conversation.

Right. I bet at least two orders of magnitude more has been burned on recycling technologies than the mere $700 million you propose here. And that huge spending resulted in the "hardly efficient" recycling methods you complain about. Now, if this recycling demonstration were done in Earth orbit, I'd be willing to pony up. But otherwise, it just isn't that useful compared to the other things I could be doing with my dime or my ten dollar bill.

Fusion (3, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#44316091)

The most obvious answer is always the one (almost) never thought of or mentioned: stop polluting the planet.

- Develop cold fusion.
- Replace polluting energy sources by unlimited fusion energy.
- Use unlimited energy to reverse the polluting mechanisms (carbon scrubbing).

Some times I wonder how bad is the player that's managing Humans in the intergalactic strategy game. Somewhere there's a civilization that made a fusion rush and are now conquering their galaxy.

Maybe we're the AI set to Dumb.

Re:Obvious (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#44316139)

That's it! So instead of creating mitigation measures, we should just count on the ability of all the nations of the world to join hands and sing!

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316151)

Yes, that's never included in global warming models! CIA-driven pollution. We need government transparency to understand the amount of CO2 released by US intelligence services.

Re:Obvious (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#44316153)

The most obvious answer is always the one (almost) never thought of or mentioned: stop polluting the planet.

And it has an obvious problem. You can only eliminate the pollution by eliminating the productive activity that lead to the pollution. That's why no one considers it. We have higher priorities than stop polluting the planet.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316687)

And it has an obvious problem. You can only eliminate the pollution by eliminating the productive activity that lead to the pollution. That's why no one considers it. We have higher priorities than stop polluting the planet.

False premise. You don't eliminate (it's really reduce) pollution by eliminating production. You can reduce consumption. That's the other half of pollution. Pulling oil out of the ground may be dirty, but the other half is in consuming that oil (i.e burning it and generating CO2)

Furthermore, if you cut consumption, production will eventually be reduced as well, due to supply and demand.

Reducing consumption (more popularly called cut spending and austerity) is one of the highest priorities we have according to many different groups. The disagreement is mostly on what spending/consumption to cut.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316307)

A better one is cause high atmosphere pollution where the is no pollution, especially in Desert areas or ocean areas.
The key is that the pollution drifts to create particles that can cloud form.

Re:Obvious (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 9 months ago | (#44316413)

While I agree we shouldn't pollute the planet and that we should strive to be as neutral to this planet as possible, I have started having some doubts that warming is caused in any meaningful way by man's activities. Given the situation on Mars I have to wonder. Science is science and it means we should keep our eyes open to new possibilities.

Do I deny that we should keep the planet clean? Hell no. We should. It's in our best interests. And we should ensure that enough O2 producing life is available to sustain our lives and the lives of the other creatures we depend on.... and those that others depend on... you know... "ecosystem crap."

But we can't turn a blind eye to factors we can't control or prevent. Things happen and our survival depends not as much on our ability to maintain the planet, but our ability to adapt with the changes. It has always been man's success in adaptation which has advanced us this far. Our ability to eat cereal grains allowed us to venture out of the jungles as things changed. And when we fight for resources with other humans, the winner won the right not to change while the losers died or adapted -- and adapt we did -- advance we have -- and only because we were required to. After all, by nature we resist change. We want to remain comfortable where we are most of the time. So when you plot man's spread from Africa, you begin to understand how and why things changed and advanced for man as they have. Adaptation is key to our survival. Understanding what we can do is key to our survival. It is not enough to fight so that we can stay the same.

Re:Obvious (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 9 months ago | (#44316747)

It is the most obvious and most thoughtless answer.

1. There is a trade off for everything we do. If we do not pollute we in essence will live back in the stone ages. However we will still be producing Bio Waste and without those polluting infrastructures we will create a hazardous environment that will kill millions of people and plants and animals, really messing stuff up. There is a reason why Stone age man life span was averaged at 35 years, and it wasn't getting eaten by a predator.

2. If too many people don't like the tradeoffs they will not follow them. You cannot expect people to live a lower quality of life, just because you said you should, to save the environment. People get pissed, when people get pissed they get violent, when they get violent people will die. So you are saying we need an oppressive regime to save the environment, we think we have loss too many right to the government already, wait and see when there is a man with a gun from the government making sure you don't burn your trash, or start up your vintage 1955 chevy.

In short there should be less stupid saber rattling and giving one sided answers and work to look at the tradeoffs and try to get a proper balance.

Well, I guess that answers the question... (2, Funny)

mitcheli (894743) | about 9 months ago | (#44315719)

Global warming is real. Now if the Department of Transportation starts digging lots of holes [cnn.com] in the ground then I guess well also know the meteor is coming...

Re:Well, I guess that answers the question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315781)

No, CIA (originally typoed as "CNN") just wants more funding. To me this spells "oh no you don't!" as it has entirely too many shades of united fruit for comfort. The whole American[tm] TLAgency complex is a little out of control, but there are definite limits, and fucking with the world's weather is definitely way off limits. Even if it would be a useful service to mankind, it's not up to them to decide that, not in the least place because they simply cannot be trusted. History ought to've taught even Americans[tm] that much. But maybe not, maybe not.

That pipe dream (literally) is nothing new. I remember reading about it in the 90s. The early 90s. Now, the interesting question is, why didn't anybody pick it up before, and what makes this guy think he can succeed? What, exactly has changed, enabling this?

I'm not disputing that this is useful research (2)

maroberts (15852) | about 9 months ago | (#44315727)

I just wonder why the funding is coming from the CIA. Surely having another US Government organisation providing the money would be less controversial.

Re:I'm not disputing that this is useful research (4, Informative)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 9 months ago | (#44315759)

Doing something unusual like reading the TFA reveals:
"It should be noted, and in fact highlighted, that CIA is only funding a portion of this study, with the rest provided by NOAA, NASA, and the National Academy of Sciences itself."
"one of the objectives of the study is to discuss the possible national security concerns that might arise should geoengineering techniques be deployed (expected or unexpectedly), either by a private entity or another country."

Re:I'm not disputing that this is useful research (-1, Offtopic)

serviceproz.net (2988395) | about 9 months ago | (#44316017)

Doing something unusual like reading the TFA reveals: "It should be noted, and in fact highlighted, that CIA is only funding a portion of this study, with the rest provided by NOAA, NASA, and the National Academy of Sciences itself." "one of the objectives of the study is to discuss the possible national security concerns that might arise should geoengineering techniques be deployed (expected or unexpectedly), either by a private entity or another country."

I am agree with you. www.serviceproz.net

Climate Change (2)

arcite (661011) | about 9 months ago | (#44315769)

Goes hand in hand with rising populations, particularly in Africa and SE Asia. As populations continue to grow in these regions, ever more pressure will be put on food production. Food production has to effectively quadruple in the next fifty years. Those who master Geo-engineering technologies will be best suited to survive the increasingly hostile planet. In respect to the CIA, processing these technologies will provide leverage with foreign governments, to maintain the balance of power, maintain alliances, and create new ones.

Good project, bad people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315749)

I'm glad someone's finally investing some real money into the study of mitigating climate change, but I'm really disappointed that it's those evil shits at the CIA. If there's one thing you can be damn sure of it's that they won't be using this technology responsibly or ethically. Assuming this isn't just a go-nowhere boondoggle to suck up government money, they will be looking at it purely in terms of weaponisation:

"Hey, Kumquatistan just elected a moderate socialist government who is refusing our unreasonable WTO demands. Let's put those uppity little fuckers back in their place. Harry, call up the news channels and tell them to start painting the Kumquatis as evil fascist communist muslim atheist pedophile terrorists who deserve everything they get. Dave, you set the climate machine to 'severe deadly drought' and point it at the Kumquati's agricultural heartland, they're about to have themselves a little famine."

relax! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315791)

Since the use of "ad trap" tactics (CIA... Geoengineering... success!) are usual nowdays in Slashdot:
The study is commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences (http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/projectview.aspx?key=49540) and their spokesperson states that the study is not designed to test any geoengineering methods or experiment with any findings whatsoever, but rather "assess the current state of knowledge about several geoengineering techniques," and use the findings to inform "future discussions" about their use, and the CIA's involvement "begins and ends with its financial contributions.", CIA is only funding a portion of this study, with the rest provided by NOAA, NASA, and the National Academy of Sciences itself.", the study sponsors, including the CIA, only address the committee in charge of the study once, at the beginning, and "do not correspond with the committee or provide any further input into the study. They receive a final, independently peer-reviewed report with the study's findings at the end of the project", "one of the objectives of the study is to discuss the possible national security concerns that might arise should geoengineering techniques be deployed (expected or unexpectedly), either by a private entity or another country.".

They're called trees you idiots. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315813)

If only we had a solar powered carbon sink, that you could put somewhere and leave for 20 years, then come harvest it for a resource to build buildings and create heat? If only they also made oxygen helped nature and looked good on the horizon.

Re:They're called trees you idiots. (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 9 months ago | (#44316393)

Create heat?

You do understand trees doesn't store carbon forever? Unless you say burry them airtight or something such?

Re:They're called trees you idiots. (5, Interesting)

abies (607076) | about 9 months ago | (#44316437)

Because they are terribly inefficient? According to http://www.ncsu.edu/project/treesofstrength/treefact.htm [ncsu.edu] , 1 tree process around 24kg of CO2 per year. Refrigerator (which I'm not giving away to be 'green'), according to http://www.botany.org/planttalkingpoints/co2andtrees.php [botany.org] , produce almost 900kg of CO2 because of energy used per year. This means, I need almost 40 full-grown trees just to cover my refrigerator. If you add some other things, like PC I'm writing it on, water heating, house warming, washing machine, etc etc, we are probably talking about acre of forest just to cover my family needs. Don't know about you, but I live in area where space is a bit of premium and people are sometimes failing to secure 50m^2 apartment in multi-store building (which translates to probably like 20m^2 of real ground space, even with pavements etc) - they can hardly affort paying for extra 5000m^2 of ground to plant forest there.

Generally, plants are very bad at anything they do, if you look from pure efficiency point of view. Same way as solar panels are order (or even few) of magnitude better at converting solar to energy than plants, there might be a non-plant solution for getting rid of CO2 in hundred times more efficient manner than trees are doing that now.

I'm a lot more worried about all these ideas with 'lets change the albedo', 'lets spray air with nanoparticles of HaArP molecules' etc. We don't know a lot about our planet and I'm afraid that any manual steering of single variables will cause catastrophic results.

A giant PRISM (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315817)

To divert the sun's rays

if you want to change the climate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44315845)

Plant the entire Sahara with trees and worldwide climate will change.

weaponize the climate? (1)

Ubi_NL (313657) | about 9 months ago | (#44315917)

This being the CIA and all, to me this sounds like an investigation whether they can use geo-engineering as an offensive weapon themselves. You know, stop all the rains in your enemy's country and watch that country collapse without any "human" casualties.

How about... (1, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about 9 months ago | (#44315923)

How about finding a way to eliminate our dependence on crude oil?

The West would be so much stronger, if it weren't us having to pay jizya to those crude savages in the Middle East.

Oil dependence is about Muslim domination and arrogant Muslim economic power, creeping cultural imperialism, and keeping us weak. How about we kick the oil habit, so we can kick the barbarians to the kerb?

Re:How about... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#44316381)

How about finding a way to eliminate our dependence on crude oil?

We already have plenty of ways to do that. They just aren't economical at the moment.

The West would be so much stronger, if it weren't us having to pay jizya to those crude savages in the Middle East.

We're paying for stuff that runs our society. So it's not a "jizya", but a legit payment for goods rendered. And those "savages" will either use the wealth to build modern societies or they'll be driving camels [gluckman.com] in a few generations. That problem is its own solution.

Sigh (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#44315959)

in particular, 'solar radiation management (SRM),'

Don't do it! We know ice ages can come on in as little as a few years. All it takes is one extra cool summer where the snow pack doesn't fully melt and so much energy gets reflected back into space the next winter is severe and even more snow builds up. It's a local attractor in chaos theory, or a stable local minimum on the energy gradiant space.

With warming, moving in from the sea over 100-300 years: irritation but nobody dies, and lives continue to improve anyway thanks to technology.

Accidentally inducing an ice ace, billions die in a few years and much of society collapses, dictatorships, and lives of those who remain stop improving and start degrading.

Don't do it.

Next (0)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 9 months ago | (#44316005)

Next they will contact the Harvard astrophysicist who asserted that all the gold on earth was formed from 2 dead stars colliding. Imagine how wealthy they could become, we could return to the gold standard.

Animatrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316007)

Makes me think of the Animatrix: The Second Renaissance Part II... "the destruction of the sky"

If you weren't scared before ... (1)

fygment (444210) | about 9 months ago | (#44316035)

.., be scared now. The CIA, really?! You _know_, absolutely and without doubt, that they are doing this with the intent of hurting someone or more likely, a whole bunch of someones.

You know that the US already has a dept? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 9 months ago | (#44316037)

Let's say run a company with 2 million employees and you have a departments which specialize in graphic design for the company, including the best and brightest with all the technology and creativity at their fingertips. Accounting doesn't get to hire an outside firm to design their new departmental logo.

The US already has a department for this - NOAA. If the CIA want's this kind of data, they need to go ask NOAA for it, not spend 2/3 of a million dollars on some contractor to put together a useless fluff piece based on simple regression of public NOAA data (which is all 630k will buy you in the gov't contracting market).

CIA? Must be a money washing excuse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316073)

CIA? Must be a money washing excuse.

Bit Late Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316083)

Read "Planet Earth - The Latest Weapon of War" by Rosalie Bertell

It presents a nice summary of the level of atmospheric experiment that's gone on since the Cold War -- and no, not in some conspiracy nut fashion.

It was bound to catch up with us sooner or later.

I can tell them how to cause Earthquakes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316197)

....for a fee. Just frak for oil and natural gas, and you have your earthquake. Send another $630,000 my way. Thanks.

That's like, one cup of government coffee (4, Funny)

argStyopa (232550) | about 9 months ago | (#44316275)

$630k is like pop-machine change in government terms.

$80,000 writing the proposal for funding
$170,000 for 17 interns to edit it
$60,000 for 3 admins to bang the interns during "late night editing sessions"
$3000 for abortions
$200,000 the inevitable hush-money to the interns
$310,000 for the multimedia presentation of the project to admins.

No, it doesn't add up to $630k. This is GOVERNMENT. Having the numbers match up costs extra.

GIven our track record (1)

Monoman (8745) | about 9 months ago | (#44316283)

Given man's track record to royally fsck stuff up before truly understanding the big picture I think we should be adapting before modifying.

Re:GIven our track record (2)

Biosci777 (2785273) | about 9 months ago | (#44316455)

Come on, what's the worst that could happen?

"Trust me, I'm with the government."
[Presses Climate-o-matic button]...
[Europe freezes and India is wiped off the map by tsunamis]
"Oops. Uh, somebody confiscate Fox News' e-mails so they don't report this."

I refuwse to divulge my secrets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316471)

I refuse to divulge my secrets to climate control!

Not new (1)

mbone (558574) | about 9 months ago | (#44316519)

Proposals and discussions about "weaponizing the weather [salon.com]" go back (in the US) to the 1950's. I can even remember the Castro regime complaining about US manipulation of hurricanes (to hit Cuba).

Bit by bit... (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 9 months ago | (#44316593)

The CIA is turning into Cobra, "a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world"*...

Today the Weather Dominator... tomorrow the MASS Device... and then the world**!!!!

Where's a Real American Hero*** when we need one?

* even their names share similarities. Add two "o" (one connected to the "I" of CIA) and the letter "r" and what do you have?
** although arguably they are working in reverse... they already have "the world" in their clutches, they have the basic tech for the MASS Device - quantum teleportation - already, so now they just need control of the weather!
*** Action Force for our foreign friends

And on the 8th day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44316667)

Modifying earth and space for the benefit of mankind. Does anyone remember the West Ford project?

Why is this a bad thing? (1)

aeranvar (2589619) | about 9 months ago | (#44316709)

My first thought when reading this: So, the CIA has realized climate change could be a problem in the future. It sounds like the CIA is putting together a research group tasked with looking at alternatives if existing methods for reducing pollution don't end up working or if we can't get enough of the population to buy into them. For that matter, I've seen reports that global warming is irreversible [npr.org] . If that's true, shouldn't we be looking into these alternatives?

Air traffic (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 9 months ago | (#44316719)

Why are they not studying the effects of air traffic? This is also a known modifier of the weather, so why not study what happens when you ban certain routes or move major ones? While it might raise airline prices (possibly only short term) it seems less damaging than spraying shit into the air or sequestering CO2.
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