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Alameda City Council blocks climate experiment

Alameda City Council blocks climate experiment

Council Blocks

The Alameda City Council has unanimously voted to block a climate change experiment from resuming on the USS Hornet, a decommissioned aircraft carrier turned museum. The project, led by researchers from the University of Washington, aimed to test the feasibility of mitigating global warming by spraying sea salt particles into the air to increase cloud reflectivity. Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft expressed disappointment over the lack of communication from the researchers, stating that the city had only received a vague notification about “misting down the length of our Flight Deck to study ‘cloud’ patterns.” The experiment had been taking place without the city’s knowledge and was found to be in violation of the city’s lease with the Hornet, which only permits museum operations.

The City Council’s decision came after an hours-long meeting that extended into the early hours of Wednesday morning. The meeting included presentations from researchers and testimonies from concerned citizens, some calling in from around the world.

Council halts geoengineering test on Hornet

While some supported the research as necessary to address climate change impacts, others were upset and worried about the potential unintended consequences of geoengineering methods. Researchers with the Coastal Aerosol Research and Engagement (CAARE) Program expressed disappointment with the decision, clarifying that their experiment was not designed to alter clouds or local weather but to study the transport and dispersal of sea-salt particles. They noted that a team of experts had independently evaluated the health and environmental safety of the sea-salt studies and found no expected adverse effects.

However, City Council members emphasized that their opposition was not against the science but rather the lack of transparency from the researchers. Mary Church from the Center for International Environmental Law supported the council’s decision, stating that the rejection “rightfully reflects the gravity of what’s at stake for both local and global communities.”

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The researchers said they hoped the city would reconsider its decision but noted they were already exploring alternative sites for their experiments. The USS Hornet museum plans to follow up with the city to explore potential paths forward for the project, which was projected to bring in $100,000 in income for the museum.

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