City council in California city shuts down nation’s first outdoor geoengineering experiment

Rather than notifying the city first, the project was announced in the New York Times.

Published: June 12, 2024 12:04pm

A Bay Area city Wednesday rejected an experiment in altering cloud behavior to limit global warming. 

The five-member Alameda City Council unanimously opposed a proposal from University of Washington researcher to conduct aerial spraying of liquified salt from the deck of the USS Hornet, a retired aircraft carrier docked in San Francisco Bay, Politco reports

The experiment was the nation’s first outdoor geoengineering experiment, according to Politico. Geoengineering, as it’s called, uses various techniques to manipulate the climate in hopes of offsetting the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions. 

The experiment began two months ago, but city officials said they put off by the project’s lack of transparency. The researchers said they didn’t need any federal, state or local permits. Rather than notifying the city first, the project was announced in the New York Times

Upon reading about the experiment, Alameda officials ordered the university to stop the operation while the city commissioned independent safety studies. The city's consultants concluded the experiment wouldn't cause health impacts, but the city council still had concerns.

At the meeting, the researchers apologized for conducting the experiment without notifying the city.

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