California city votes to block solar geoengineering experiment

By Blanca Begert | 06/05/2024 06:51 AM EDT

The Alameda City Council unanimously rejected a first-in-the-nation experiment to alter the climate.

The USS Hornet is docked in Alameda, California.

The USS Hornet is docked in Alameda, California. The decommissioned aircraft carrier hosted a climate intervention experiment. Jeff Chiu/AP

A Northern California city council voted early Wednesday morning to cancel the nation’s first outdoor experiment into the potential to limit global warming by altering cloud behavior.

The five-member Alameda City Council voted unanimously to reject University of Washington researchers’ aerial spraying of liquefied salt from the deck of a retired aircraft carrier in San Francisco Bay, two months after the experiment began.

City officials said they were put off by the project’s lack of transparency. While researchers maintained they didn’t need any federal, state or local permits to begin the experiment, officials faulted them for announcing the project in The New York Times rather than notifying the city first.


“You didn’t start out on the right foot,” Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft told the researchers. “I’m not thrilled when I open the paper … and read about this controversial experiment taking place in the Bay Area. I thought, ‘Oh, I wonder where that is. Alameda? What?'”