February 10, 2009

ETC Group Launches First-ever “PIE-IN-THE-SKY” Contest for Budding Geoengineers

The first ever “Pie-in-the-Sky” contest for the wackiest geoengineering scheme to combat global warming is taking off just as controversial planetary techno-fixes are heating up. Since the beginning of the year, an Indo-German ship has launched itself into the Southern Ocean and dumped tonnes of iron sulphate overboard in a dubious attempt to drive CO2 to the ocean floor;[1] a madcap corporate venture is preparing to spread urea in the Tasman Sea for the same purpose;[2] a British university has issued a ratings list for different geoengineering practices;[3] and the UK's Royal Society is about to issue its own geoengineering assessment.[4]

The Canadian-based ETC Group is introducing its international “Pie-in-the-Sky” competition to spotlight the wackiest proposals for intentionally manipulating the earth, oceans and/or atmosphere. “The proof of principle is well-established,” says Kathy Jo Wetter of ETC group. “Industrialization geoengineered us into the climate mess in the first place, and some companies and scientists are crazy enough to think they can geoengineer us out of it.”

In the real world, geoengineers are already working on a frightening array of weird ideas with plans to wrap deserts in plastic, sequester CO2 in the ocean by 'fertilizing' its surface, not to mention placing solar shades above the clouds to deflect sunlight. “These corporate and government-backed experiments really deflect society's attention from vital policy and lifestyle changes needed to reduce emissions,” adds ETC's Silvia Ribeiro, “by touting profoundly hazardous, extremely expensive yet potentially profitable technological Band-Aids.”


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