Get those tin foil hats out: The CIA is backing half of a $630,000 study into whether scientists can fight climate change via geoengineering. The 21-month project by the National Academy of Sciences will be a "technical evaluation of a limited number of proposed geoengineering techniques," says the NAS, exploring techniques such as solar radiation management—which is the idea of putting particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight away from Earth—and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reports Mother Jones.
So why are spooks interested in the weather? "It's natural that on a subject like climate change the Agency would work with scientists to better understand the phenomenon and its implications on national security," is all a CIA spokesperson would say. There are certainly security concerns for what other countries might do with the technology, notes Mother Jones. "This whole issue of lone actors: Do we need to be concerned about China acting unilaterally?" says a geoengineering researcher and NAS panel member. "Is that just idle chatter, or is that something the US government should prepare for?" But a NAS spokesperson says not to worry—the entire report will be unclassified. "There's nothing nefarious going on here," she says, per NBC.