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Legislation Aims At Atmospheric Climate Intervention Research
US Rep

With scientists and climate experts increasingly sounding the alarm about the catastrophic consequences of ignoring climate change, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) has introduced new legislation to explore potential combatants against this imminent threat. The Atmospheric Climate Intervention Research Act would authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to advance research on atmospheric climate intervention.

“While there is no substitute for drastically reducing carbon pollution, we must explore all the potential tools we have to fight the effects of climate change,” said Congressman McNerney. “Some research in atmospheric climate intervention is already taking place, and it is imperative that the appropriate authorities are leading this initiative to ensure safe practices are being promoted and proper governance is being applied.”

Under this bill, NOAA would be empowered to broaden its research into atmospheric climate intervention modeling and technologies. This would provide the agency with a way to improve their measurement and assessment capabilities in order to better understand the potential effects of such atmospheric climate interventions.

“NOAA is already actively involved in observing and monitoring atmospheric chemistry and dynamics. This legislation will enable them to build on current research to further explore and examine the potential risks and benefits of climate intervention,” said McNerney.

“We applaud Congressman McNerney for his leadership and focus on the need for research to help us understand atmospheric climate interventions and their governance,” said Kelly Wanser, Executive Director of Silver Lining. “Silver Lining’s mission is to ensure options for safety against near-term climate risk are well thought through and this legislation will enhance the critical role NOAA already plays as a leading provider of earth system data and tools to inform the international scientific community and policymakers.”

Expanding on two previously published reports, Congressman McNerney introduced legislation last Congress to commission the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to produce two reports recommending an atmospheric climate intervention (sometimes referred to as “geoengineering”) research strategy, as well as provide oversight principles for such research. This prompted a national conversation surrounding the issue and led to the creation of a new committee within NAS tasked with producing both a research agenda and governance approach. The Congressman’s new bill builds off of the successful creation of this committee and authorizes the next step in researching this potential tool in the fight against global climate change.