The Committee on Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts was charged with the following task:
An ad hoc committee will conduct a technical evaluation of a limited number of proposed geoengineering techniques, including examples of both solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal techniques, and comment generally on the potential impacts of deploying these technologies, including possible environmental, economic, and national security concerns. The study will
- Evaluate what is currently known about the science of several (3 or 4) selected example techniques, including potential risks and consequences (both intended and unintended), such as impacts, or lack thereof, on ocean acidification;
- Describe what is known about the viability for implementation of the proposed techniques, including technological and cost considerations;
- Briefly explain other geoengineering technologies that have been proposed (beyond the selected examples); and
- Identify future research needed to provide a credible scientific underpinning for future discussions.
The study will also discuss historical examples of related technologies (e.g., cloud seeding and other weather modification) for lessons that might be learned about societal reactions, examine what international agreements exist which may be relevant to the experimental testing or deployment of geoengineering technologies, and briefly explore potential societal and ethical considerations related to geoengineering. This study is intended to provide a careful, clear scientific foundation that informs ethical, legal, and political discussions surrounding geoengineering.
This study was sponsored by the U.S. intelligence community, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, and the National Academies.