The United States' most powerful intelligence body has lent its support to scientific research into the potential for geo-engineering to bring a halt to global warming.

Mother Jones reports that the CIA and NASA are amongst the key backers of a study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) into whether geo-engineering could be used to manipulate the earth’s climate, and stop or even reverse the warming of the atmosphere.

NAS says the study will focus specifically on a “limited number of proposed geo-engineering techniques, including examples of both solar radiation management (SRM) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) techniques,” with a view to exploring “the potential impacts of deploying these technologies, including possible environmental, economic and national security concerns.”

Both of the technologies which serve as the study’s core area of focus aim to reduce increases in the earth’s atmosphere.

Solar radiation management involves the reflection of sunlight to reduce infrared radiation levels and thus stymie the warming of the earth. As a branch of geo-engineering it remains very much in its infancy, and has yet to proceed far beyond on the drawing board.

Carbon dioxide removal refers to a variety of technologies for reducing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus diminishing the primary cause of atmospheric warming.

The expected cost of the study is USD$630,000, and according to reports will be jointly funded by NAS, the CIA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. The study will run for 21 weeks in total, and is the first NAS geo-engineering research project to involve the CIA.

While NAS spokesman William Kearney was willing to admit that the certain “US intelligence community” which the organization’s website says is helping to fund the project refers to the CIA, agency spokesman Edward Price refused to confirm its involvement. Mr. Price did state, however, that “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.”

The CIA would appear to be outsourcing research into the potential implications of weather manipulation, after shutting its own center for the study of climate change and national security last year due to members of Congress insisting it was beyond their purview of concern.