The Biden administration is not planning to address global warming through solar geoengineering

By: Sam Doak
July 12 2023

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The Biden administration is not planning to address global warming through solar geoengineering


The Verdict Misleading

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy clarified to Logically Facts that no such policy has been decided.

Claim ID a67f3b5d


On June 30, 2023, the Biden administration released a report concerning solar geoengineering to address the climate crisis.

Solar geoengineering broadly entails reflecting energy from the sun to reduce the heating of the atmosphere. The report focuses on two processes, Stratospheric aerosol injection, which entails reflecting light through the release of sulfur dioxide, and marine cloud brightening, which describes efforts to increase the reflective ability of clouds.  

The publication of this report has led some to believe that the Biden administration has decided to implement these technologies. This has likely been elicited by clickbait-style headlines from publications such as the Mail Online, which titled its coverage, "More gloomy news from Biden! White House backs plan to BLOCK sunlight from hitting surface of the Earth in bid to limit global warming."

While the narrative that the administration has decided to implement such plans has gained significant traction, Logically Facts has concluded that this is not the case. 

In Fact

The report published by the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was mandated by Congress, meaning the administration was compelled to produce it. Its publication does not entail any change in policy. 

This was clarified by a spokesperson for the OSTP, who told Logically Facts, "The White House report on solar radiation modification was developed in direct response to a Congressional mandate and does not signify any change in policy or activity by the Biden-Harris Administration, which remains focused on reducing emissions, increasing resilience, advancing environmental justice, and achieving true energy security."

On whether any plans to implement these technologies had been decided upon, the spokesperson stated, "There are no plans underway to establish a comprehensive research program focused on solar geoengineering. Further, the limited scope of existing federal research is not a preparatory measure for deployment, and the U.S. government is not currently engaged in outdoor testing or deployment of solar geoengineering."

It should be noted that plans to deploy such technologies would likely generate widespread coverage. Dr. Prakash Kashwan, an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Brandeis University, told Logically Facts that it would amount to a "drastic step," stating that "it is full of environmental, social, and political risks." 

On the report's findings, Kashwan told Logically Facts that it is not a wholesale endorsement of solar geoengineering, stating, "it pushes back against geoengineering hawks, who have been advocating for ramping up unilateral SRM research. Their focus is mainly on a narrowly defined research agenda related to field experiments to expedite geoengineering deployment. On the contrary, this report from the White House's OSTP situates SRM within a broader interdisciplinary conversation and outlines an approach to developing a more broad-based research agenda."

The Verdict

The completion of this report was mandated by Congress, and it does not entail any change in policy under the Biden administration. This claim has therefore been marked as false. 

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