With the Royal Society’s President, Lord Martin Rees, presiding and James Lovelock, the father of the Gaia Hypothesis, commenting, the release of the Society’s report outlining the possibilities for geoengineering the world out of the climate crisis could seem the very embodiment of the precautionary principle. In his 2004 book, Our Final Century, it was Lord Rees after all who warned us that technological hubris could obliterate a million lives through “bio error or bioterror” before 2020. He is a cautious man not disposed to put faith in technological silver bullets. Likewise, Dr. Lovelock has been outspoken in his alarm over the impending climate chaos – edging toward geoengineering, but equally perturbed by the “Kafkaesque” prospects of scientists and governments trying to rejig the planetary thermostat.
The oldest scientific academy in the world, the UK’s Royal Society, will release its long-awaited report on geoengineering September 1st 2009 in London. The report, drafted by a panel dominated by geoengineering enthusiasts, is widely expected to recommend that the government support more research and perhaps even real-world experimentation of these controversial new technologies that intentionally manipulate the earth’s climate on a large scale with the aim of lessening the effects of climate change.
“Geoengineering is a bad idea, and, unfortunately, it may transform Lord Rees’s book from musings to memoir,” says Diana Bronson, researcher for the international technology watchdog ETC Group, referring to the Royal Society President’s 2004 book, Our Final Century, which suggested that humans may not live to see the end of the 21st century.
Montreal - As hundreds of delegates gathered for the Sixth Annual Conference on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing at Palais des congrès in Old Montreal, a group of NGOs held an early morning press conference across the street.
Montreal. Several groups including Greenpeace, ETC Group and Biofuelwatch are warning that the biotech lobby will mount a major green-washing public relations exercise during the Sixth Annual Conference on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing that will be held at the Palais de congrès (19-22 July 2009).
After four days of difficult negotiations among 121 governments at a UN Food and Agricultural Organization Treaty meeting on the use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture held in Tunisia, a Canadian effort to block progress was overturned. At midnight on Thursday, Brazil read an amended resolution on farmers’ rights to a tired plenary, shifting the prevailing tension amongst delegates into relief and enthusiasm. Following corridor negotiations, in which Europe, Latin America and Africa confronted Canada’s effort to derail the implementation of farmers’ rights, governments agreed to: ...
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s speech last week advocating painting rooftops and roadways white to reflect sunlight may be yet another attempt to test the international waters on the controversial subject of geoengineering. “We need an unequivocal statement from the White House that the U.S. Government is not green-lighting geoengineering in the run-up to Copenhagen,” said Pat Mooney, Executive Director of ETC Group, an Ottawa-based civil society organization monitoring new technologies.
Geneva -- “The actions on nanotechnology that were agreed upon today do not reflect the urgency of the issue. The delegates were made aware that nanomaterials are an intergenerational risk, with nanoparticles being passed from mother to child via maternal blood. Yet these risks appear to have been ignored in the response by ICCM2," said Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, IPEN CoChair.
“We are a long way from the statement that was adopted less than a year ago at the meeting organized by the International Forum on Chemical Safety in Dakar,” said Diana Bronson from ETC Group. “There, governments, industry, trade unions and non-governmental organizations had agreed that the precautionary principle needed to be applied, that countries should have the right to say no to nanotechnology and that special measures need to be taken to protect vulnerable groups. We got none of that in Geneva.”
Vicky Schutte of Oakville, Ontario (Canada) took top honors today in ETC Group's international geo-engineering contest for her proposal to combat climate change by re-engineering the earth's orbit. Her idea is to nudge the planet further from the sun (and closer to Mars). In her entry, Schutte helpfully pointed out that expanding the earth's orbit would not only increase the distance between the earth and sun, thereby cooling the planet, but it would also take our birthdays longer to come around – climate salvation and fountain of youth all in one!
On February 18, 2009, the Ecuadorian Congress approved a new Law on Food Sovereignty, which, among other important points, declared the country “free of transgenic crops and seeds.” However, in spite of vocal popular opposition, the legislation left the door open to approvals of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in “exceptional” cases. Now, President Rafael Correa has proposed several changes to the legislation – in what is known in Ecuador as a partial-veto – and sent it back to the Congress. The president's changes dangerously weaken the law and open the door to Terminator seeds.
OTTAWA – Reports from an Associated Press interview with U.S. Chief Science Advisor John Holdren claiming that the White House could now be taking a serious look at geo-engineering – including the radical proposal to shoot nanoparticles of sulphate into the earth’s atmosphere – are causing alarm around the world. “If this is somebody's trial balloon to test Obama's acceptance of geo-engineering, the White House should shoot it down immediately,” says Pat Mooney, executive director of ETC Group, an Ottawa-based civil society organization that has been monitoring geo-engineering technologies since 2006. Geo-engineering refers to large-scale, intentional manipulations of the planet's climate and other systems.