Seth Borenstein reports that science adviser John Holdren has brought up the issue of studying manual tinkering with the climate, also known as geoengineering, within the government.
At first, Holdren characterized the potential need to technologically tinker with the climate as just his personal view. However, he went on to say he has raised it in administration discussions.
(Update 6pm: In light of headlines like this and this, Holdren spokesman Rick Weiss emailed ScienceInsider to say: "There was nothing in Dr. Holdren’s comments to the AP to suggest that the administration is actively pursuing or even currently envisioning a geo-engineering approach. The administration’s primary focus is still to seek comprehensive energy legislation that can get us closer to a clean energy economy, create green jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil while reducing the risks of climate change.
It's worth stressing that no U.S. government agency has proposed actually doing geoengineering, and Holdren's not the first scientist within the government to consider studying the idea. Recently, we reported
that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has considered funding research in this controversial area, and the Department of Energy considered the issue last year, discussing it with National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone, a climate scientist who has called for such research in the past. The Environmental Protection Agency also hosted geochemist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science last year for a talk on the issue.