California Cancels First-of-its-Kind Geoengineering Experiment

A geoengineering experiment aimed at mitigating climate change through cloud manipulation has been halted in Alameda, California, despite scientific backing for its safety. The experiment, led by researchers from the University of Washington (UW), involved spraying tiny sea salt particles into the atmosphere.

The sprayer being tested on board the decommissioned U.S.S. Hornet in Alameda.

The goal? To create brighter clouds that reflect more sunlight away from Earth, potentially inducing a cooling effect.

News of the experiment, which hadn’t even begun dispersing salt particles yet, surprised local officials. Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft raised concerns about transparency, leading to a temporary halt and an environmental assessment.

While the assessment, commissioned by the city council, found the experiment to be low-risk. The saltwater solution used is essentially seawater, containing naturally occurring elements already present in the environment. Therefore, city staff, citing these findings, recommended the experiment’s continuation.

However, following a public meeting where residents expressed lingering doubts, the city council voted unanimously to terminate the project. This decision comes despite support from some environmental groups who view cloud brightening as a potential tool to combat global warming.

The future of cloud brightening research in the US remains uncertain. The Alameda experiment’s cancellation highlights the complex social and ethical considerations surrounding geoengineering technologies.

Reference- CBS News, The New York Times, Futurism, Clean Technica