Geoengineering, and More from CRS

Technologies to modify the Earth’s climate are at least conceivable and, in the absence of a comprehensive national and international climate change policy, may soon emerge as practical alternatives, a new survey of the subject from the Congressional Research Service suggests.

“The term ‘geoengineering’ describes this array of technologies that aim, through large-scale and deliberate modifications of the Earth’s energy balance, to reduce temperatures and counteract anthropogenic climate change,” the CRS report said.  However, “Most of these technologies are at the conceptual and research stages, and their effectiveness at reducing global temperatures has yet to be proven.”

“Moreover, very few studies have been published that document the cost, environmental effects, sociopolitical impacts, and legal implications of geoengineering. If geoengineering technologies were to be deployed, they are expected to have the potential to cause significant transboundary effects.”  See “Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy” (pdf), August 16, 2010.

The Congressional Research Service — acting at congressional direction — does not permit direct public access to its publications.  Some other recent CRS reports obtained by Secrecy News include the following (all pdf).

“Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill,” August 16, 2010.

“Public Employees’ Right to Privacy in Their Electronic Communications: City of Ontario v. Quon in the Supreme Court,” July 28, 2010.

Samantar v. Yousef: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Foreign Officials,” August 24, 2010.

“The European Union’s Response to the 2007-2009 Financial Crisis,” August 13, 2010.

“Turkey: Politics of Identity and Power,” August 13, 2010.

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  1. George Smith August 31, 2010 at 4:17 PM #

    It’s amusing to read all the highly speculative and made-up stuff about geoengineering.

    Particularly when we get to the bits about injecting sulfur dioxide, championed for years by Lowell Wood, who was nicknamed Dr. Evil in a fairly popular Rolling Stone piece from a few years back. The report has cleverly left out his name because of the negative association.

    It’s too bad you can’t tell who ordered up this CRS report since the crackpot geoengineering schemes are usually -only- championed by the people who are vehemently opposed to doing anything rational to curb global warming. Part of this is probably because crackpot geoengineering schemes would create the need for large scale manufacture of noxious materials, which therefore creates taxpayer paid for business opportunity, if nothing else.

    I’d bet dollars to donuts the request for this came from the GOP.

  2. James Fleming October 30, 2010 at 11:25 AM #

    The most likely requester was Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN) whose House Science and Technology Committee just released a report, Engineering the Climate: Research Needs and Strategies for International Collaboration. It has just been posted on the Committee website http://science.house.gov