President Donald Trump stuck a knife in what the mainstream media likes to label the “Obama legacy” by withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, calling it “a massive redistribution of United States’ wealth to other countries.”
“It’s to give their country an economic edge over the United States. That’s not going to happen while I’m president. I’m sorry,” Trump explained to the press.
The withdraw means the United States will not take part in the voluntary actions each participating nation will take in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions for the sake of mitigating climate change. It also could divorce the U.S. from cooperating in highly controversial methods of battling climate change, such as geoengineering.
Geoengineering is defined as the deliberate large-scale manipulation of an environmental process that affects the earth’s climate, in an attempt to counteract the effects of global warming.
The most notable form of geoengineering is deflecting the sun’s energy in a process called Solar Radiation Management (SRM). SRM involves the redirection of solar radiation back toward the sun and away from the Earth’s surface by injecting sulfates and other microscopic particles into the atmosphere.
According to David A. Dana of The Conversation, Trump’s withdraw from the Paris Accord may have just hampered cooperative efforts of international states to advance the geoengineering of the planet.
While the withdrawal undoubtedly will impede efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions – and very regrettably so – it may have a negative effect on another area of global climate negotiation: geoengineering.
Geoengineering, in the form of deflecting the sun’s energy, has been discussed as a technologically feasible, yet highly risky, near-term response to the rapid warming of the planet. The only reasonable, and indeed sane, way for the debate over the contentious question of geoengineering to proceed is in the context of inclusive, transparent, reasoned international cooperation – the same process that led to the Paris Agreement.
Yet the Trump withdrawal has weakened the very institution that could be the most viable nexus for such international cooperation.
Dana goes on to explain that Geoengineering could have devastating consequences, including the disruption of weather patterns across vast swaths of the world and the weaponization of the weather.
According to Dana, the withdraw could also spark a “wild west” scenario in which there is no oversight of the injection of reflective material into the atmosphere.
Will the debate about, research into and (if it ever happens) deployment of SRM be a matter of the “Wild West”? That is, will it be a matter of whatever a country or even non-state actor wants to do, perhaps even partially in secret? Or will it rather be a matter of considered, transparent, inclusive decision-making by the international community as a whole?
While many are under the impression that SRM projects – better known to the average person as chemtrails – are already happening on a planetary scale, the United States withdraw from the Paris Accord may have just delayed the openly admitted, full-scale deployment of the highly risky technique.
Recently there has been numerous reports of geoengineering experiments taking place inside the United States.
Scientists from Harvard are set to send aerosol injections 20km up into the earth’s stratosphere in the world’s biggest solar geoengineering program to date, reported the Guardian in March. The experiment aims to establish whether the technology can safely simulate the atmospheric cooling effects of a volcanic eruption and will cost $20m.
NASA was also set to conduct its own geoengineering experiment by creating artificial, colorful clouds as a way to study auroras and the ionosphere. The plan, which was planned for this week, ultimately was canceled.