The CIA asked me about controlling the climate – this is why we should worry | Alan Robock

Geoengineering has many risks, and we don’t yet know the CIA’s intentions. But given the lack of political will on climate change, we have to look at it

On January 19, 2011, I got a phone call from two men who told me they were consultants for the CIA. Roger Lueken and Michael Canes, analysts for the Logistics Management Institute, asked, among other things, “If another country were trying to control our climate, would we be able to detect it?”

I told them that I thought we could, because if a cloud in the stratosphere were created (the most commonly proposed method of control) that was thick enough, large enough, and long-lasting enough to change the amount of energy reaching Earth, we could certainly see it with the same ground-based and satellite instruments we use to measure stratospheric clouds from volcanic eruptions. If, on the other hand, low clouds were being brightened over the ocean (another suggested means of cooling the climate), we could see telltale patterns in the tops of the clouds with satellite photos. And it would also be easy to observe aeroplanes or ships injecting gases or particles into the atmosphere.

Related: Spy agencies fund climate research in hunt for weather weapon, scientist fears

Related: Can the CIA weaponise the weather?

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