The U.S. Department of Energy may begin studying the effects of geoengineering the climate if a proposed budget bill becomes law.
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee recently passed a proposed budget bill which would instruct the Department of Energy (DOE) to study the possibility of reflecting sunlight into space as part of an effort fight global warming. The process is known as “albedo modification,” a type of geoengineering.
The scientists found that or albedo-modification techniques are likely to present “serious known and possible unknown environmental, social, and political risks, including the possibility of being deployed unilaterally.” The report was sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. intelligence community, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Energy.
According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, if geoengineering programs were started and then suddenly halted, the planet could see an immediate rise in temperatures, particularly over land. The study, titled, “The Impact of Abrupt Suspension of Solar Radiation Management,” seems to indicate that once geoengineering begins, the programs cannot be suspended without causing the very problem the engineering was intended to solve.