On Oct. 13, the White House announced that it was funding a five-year-research plan into one of the most controversial proposals for fighting climate change out there: geoengineering, or the technologies and innovations that can be used to artificially modify the Earth’s climate.
The report will be dedicated specifically to a form of geoengineering known as solar radiation management. This is a technique that essentially involves spraying fine aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight away from the Earth. The idea is that, once it’s reflected, there’ll be less heat and temperatures will go down.
The research plan will be modeling how SRM might impact the atmosphere and assess its viability as a potential technique used to “manage near-term climate risk.” Put it another way: We want to know whether or not we should include this in our “break glass in case of climate disaster” box.