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White House report suggests blocking sunlight to prevent climate change

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The White House office of Science and Technology policy released a congressionally mandated report on solar geoengineering which is titled, ‘Congressionally-Mandated Report on Solar Radiation Modification’. Geoengineering is the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change.

It says that a designated team has been researching ways to stop the sun’s rays from accelerating global warming. The report further says, “These unknowns, and the ever-evolving understanding of complex Earth systems, provide a compelling case for research to better understand both the potential benefits and risks”.

This report was made to fulfil the congressional mandate included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed in 2022, which asked the White House to develop a research governance framework to provide guidance on transparency, engagement, and risk management for publicly funded work in solar geoengineering research.

The report also says that the administration is looking into various kinds of geoengineering methods such as stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) and marine cloud brightening. The report also says that there is research in ‘cirrus cloud thinning’.

The report also says that geoengineering is easier to implement than space based approaches and that the focus on atmospheric approaches also follows from their greater near-term feasibility relative to space-based approaches. The report also reads that, “This Research Plan focuses on improving understanding of the potential impacts of SRM, rather than on technologies needed for deployment. Much of this research would contribute to our ability to understand basic climate processes and effects of human greenhouse gas emissions, as well as outcomes of SRM”.

The report further states, “A program of research into the scientific and societal implications of solar radiation modification (SRM) would enable better-informed decisions about the potential risks and benefits of SRM as a component of climate policy.”

The report also stated that it could pave way for private and government projects in the future. The report also says that ‘Solar Radiation Modification’ offers the potential to significantly cool the planet in the span of a few years.

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