weather mod

Weather Modification: Myths and Facts

It is a safe bet to say that all progressive readers have some familiarity with conspiracy theories about weather modification. These theories, that range from “chemtrails” to the HAARP project, propose that sinister government and corporate forces are altering local weather and the whole globe´s climate with purposes that range from warfare to climate change mitigation. The most extreme version of these theories holds that all of climate science is a fraud, including the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and that the bizarre and extreme weather observed all over the earth in recent years is not caused by the burning of fossil fuels but by weather modification technologies invented and used by an evil cabal of scientists and shady figures bent on world domination- an image straight out of an Austin Powers film. These theories, which are increasingly popular, play into right-wing anti-environmental themes. In a 2013 column, Canadian scientist and outspoken environmental activist David Suzuki likened belief in “chemtrails” to climate change denial:

“I don’t have space to get into the absurdities of belief in a plot that would require worldwide collusion between governments, scientists and airline company executives and pilots to amass and spray unimaginable amounts of chemicals from altitudes of 10,000 metres or more. I’m a scientist, so I look at credible science — and there is none for the existence of chemtrails. They’re condensation trails, formed when hot, humid air from jet exhaust mixes with colder low-vapour-pressure air… Why do so many people accept a theory for which there is no scientific evidence while rejecting a serious and potentially catastrophic phenomenon that can be easily observed and for which overwhelming evidence has been building for decades?”

After publishing the column, Suzuki received a barrage of verbal abuse and ridicule from “chemtrails” believers. The tone of these attacks is startlingly similar to the vitriol and invective that he has received in the past from anti-environmental campaigners. (I believe I myself will be targeted by these believers once they finish reading this article.)

As an activist and researcher, I myself began researching HAARP (the High-Frequency Advanced Auroral Research Project) in the mid-1990s. According to its Wikipedia entry, it is:

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