Some governments are exploring geoengineering as a way to reduce or delay climate change. Geoengineering could technically take climate decisions away from all but the richest countries. Computer models show that stratospheric interventions to reduce sunlight and lower temperatures may benefit some temperate zones but negatively impact Latin America with important social and agricultural consequences.
Recent Content Related to Climate & Geoengineering
Last week’s negotiating session resulted in the UN’s climate expert body giving a reluctant nod of support to a controversial – and largely theoretical – geoengineering technique known as BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage). Geoengineering refers to extreme technological fixes that aim to alter the climate on a large scale. In its report approved Saturday April 12, Working Group III (WGIII) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) largely – and wisely – bypassed geoengineering, but did suggest that BECCS is a bitter pill that a warming world could find itself having to swallow. BECCS and other Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies will be especially needed, according to the IPCC, in “overshoot” scenarios, where mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions is delayed or inadequate, necessitating faster, deeper emissions cuts in the long run to limit temperature rise. The IPCC notes that “overshoot,” in general, makes it less likely that any given temperature goal will be met.
The latest instalment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Assessment Report (AR5), released today, contains no reference to geoengineering in its Summary for Policymakers, though it attributes a slew of negative effects to so-called planet hacking in its full report. Released after a week-long negotiating session of Working Group II (WGII, which assesses the human and ecological vulnerabilities to climate change and options to adapt), today’s report represents a precarious victory over ongoing pressure within the IPCC – by geoengineering proponents and some governments (e.g., Russia, the USA, Canada and the UK) – to legitimize geoengineering as a solution to climate change.
The contribution to AR5 of Working Group I (WGI), approved in Stockholm, September 2013, referred to geoengineering techniques, including so-called solar radiation management (SRM) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR), but stopped short of endorsing them.
Unlucky 13: Our 2012 year-end review, “193 Shades of Gray,” stumbled into the surreal, post-Rio+20 “Hunger Games” as FAO admitted that it has been underestimating the number of hungry people and overestimating future food requirements and, in a cowardly act of conspicuous consumption, the UN Committee on World Food Security failed to condemn biofuels; Warsaw withered the way of every climate conference since Kyoto; the USA, UK, China and Russia significantly underestimated GHG emissions while the UK, Japan, New Zealand and Australia concluded that they just don’t give a dam
As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published the first installment of its latest climate change Assessment Report, AR5, the final paragraph of its Summary for Policymakers – a bullet point referring to proposals for deliberately altering climate systems – has caused consternation by addressing the controversial topic of geoengineering. (1)While the paragraph does not endorse geoengineering, as had been proposed by Russia, its very presence is ringing alarm bells.
The Food Systems We Don’t Know We Don’t Know – Fifty years ago, at the first World Food Congress in June 1963, the UN was told that, “We have the means, we have the capacity, to wipe hunger and poverty from the face of the earth in our lifetime – we need only the will.” These words have been the mantra of every food conference since. Yet governments still face major gaps in their knowledge about our food supply and consumption. This became horribly apparent in 2007 when governments failed to recognize that a global food crisis was at hand. Fifty years after policymakers committed to end hunger they need to sort out why governments don’t have the means, the capacity, or the will to end hunger.
Charlene Spretnak, host of All Together Now, talks with Pat Mooney, Executive Director of ETC Group, in Ottawa, about the push by many governments for “techno fixes” (instead of burning far less fossil fuel), such as “solar radiation management,” GHG sequestration, and weather modification — and the corporate push for various types of synthetic biology.
In October 2012 ETC Group uncovered that a commercial geoengineering firm had quietly carried out the world's largest geoengineering deployment to-date (in July 2012). When the news became public as a result of ETC Group's investigations, it caused a wave of concern among scientists, governments, the public and of course the people of Haida Gwaii. HSRC have since said they intend to carry out further ocean fertilization dumps. On this page we have collected some of the background on the Haida Gwaii ocean fertilization episode, how the story was reported, the legal situation, the science and more.
Almost six years ago ETC Group blew the whistle on a commercial geoengineering outfit called Planktos, Inc., which was making its way to dump 100 tons of iron nanoparticles into the waters of the Galapagos Islands . Working with allies ETC Group was able to prevent that ocean fertilisation dump. In 2012 however we were less lucky. The same geoengineering entrepeuner, Russ George, suceeded in dumping over 100 tonnes of iron into the Pacific ocean west of Haida Gwaii in Canada, claiming that his actions had prompted a 10,000 square km plankton bloom. This time his new company, The Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC), was using millions of dollars in funds from a small indigenous community. Read here the full story of how ETC Group uncovered HSRC's rogue geoengineering scheme and the storm of international concern that ensued.
Geoengineering – the intentional, large-scale technological manipulation of the Earth’s systems – is another false solution to climate change being pushed from the global North. High-risk and high-tech schemes under development, including blasting reflective particles into the stratosphere, whitening clouds and dumping chemical compounds into the oceans, could have devastating consequences for ecosystems and for the food and water sources for billions of people. States responsible for most of the historic greenhouse gas emissions are pushing for geoengineering as they see it as “the perfect excuse” to continue business as usual – keep emitting CO2 while making new profits selling the geoengineering technologies. No government, industrial sector or billionaires club has the right to own the planet’s thermostat. Geoengineering diverts attention and resources from real solutions to climate change. In this workshop, we will provide a brief introduction to geoengineering technologies before discussing strategies to stop them. Hands Off Mother Earth!
* Tuesday March 5: SKIDEGATE
Kay Centre Performing House - 7 pm
* Wednesday March 6: MASSET
Howard Phillips Community Hall - 5 pm
Pat will share ETC Group's ongoing research into the potential impacts of geoengineering and his experience of the international legal and governance questions raised by ocean fertilization and geoengineering. He will also talk about the global movement of civil society groups, Indigenous Peoples Organizations and science and policy experts now calling for a halt to geoengineering.
Communique # 109
Chaos theory proposes that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could cause a hurricane in Texas. Complexity theory compounds the chaos by adding the quantum-like effects of, for example, genome changes in the butterfly to the conflictions of supercomputer models. Now, geoengineers want to multiply the complexity with politics. The result is an extreme form of artificial intelligence.
Gaia is complicated. From stratospheric currents to undersea rivers – and from plankton to palm tree emissions and sequestrations – quantifying, qualifying and calibrating planetary systems is at least as challenging as understanding genes or neurons. Despite decades of modeling, we are no more likely to predict next month’s best picnic day than we are to anticipate the proclivities of our DNA or to trace a memory in our cranium. Frustratingly, we have learned to map and manipulate genomes, geographies and memories, but we can’t control the consequences.
This briefing outlines the principal decisions and resolutions of the Convention on Biological Diversity and London Convention/Protocol relating to ocean fertilization in the context of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation's "Haida Salmon Restoration Project".
The CBD Moratorium
The Contracting Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol, at their Joint Meeting in London this week (29 October to 2 November 2012), agreed on a statement of concern regarding the iron fertilization project in ocean waters west of Canada.
Hands Off Mother Earth (H.O.M.E) is a global campaign to defend our one precious home, Planet Earth, against the threat of geoengineering experiments.
The HOME campaign provides a common platform for organizations and individuals around the world to register their opposition to geoengineering experiments. The campaign asserts that the seas, skies and soils of our home planet should not be used as a laboratory for these unjust and risky technological fixes.
More information about the world’s largest geoengineering deployment to-date has come to light since news of the iron-dust dump made headlines on Monday. The so-called ‘Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation’ (HSRC) claims it dumped 100 tonnes of iron particles into the Haida Eddy of the north-east Pacific Ocean to produce an artificial plankton bloom, even though the practice is prohibited by globally agreed moratoria and Canadian law. The CEO of HSRC, John Disney, claims that several Canadian government agencies – including Environment Canada – were apprised of HSRC’s ocean fertilization plans before deployment. Canada’s Environment Minister says an investigation is underway and the dump would be illegal if it indeed happened.
From: Sweet,Adam [NCR] [mailto:Adam.Sweet@ec.gc.ca]
Sent: October-17-12 4:24 PM
Environmental protection and enforcement is a priority of our government. Under Budget 2012, we increased the levels of fines, and we have also recently increased the number of enforcement officers.