BARCELONA – The international civil society network Climate Justice Now! deplores the downplaying of expectations for the Copenhagen Climate Summit in Barcelona by industrialized countries, UNFCCC officials and the host of the Copenhagen Summit. On the eve of Copenhagen, there is still no real progress on targets, a naïve and dangerous reliance on market mechanisms, no commitment to human rights, and a frightening context in which some countries are beginning to talk seriously about dangerous climate techno-fixes.
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By 2050, or much sooner, we will be growing food under climatic conditions we’ve never seen before and learning that “normal” weather is an illusive fiction. Yet, we are told that global land grabs and plantations of agrofuels are a “win-win.” The truth is that policymakers don’t know enough about our food supply. We don’t know where our food comes from and we don’t know who is feeding the hungry today. We have absolutely no idea who will feed us in 2050. This report raises more questions than answers. It begins with a comparison of the likelihood of the industrial food chain and the peasant food web getting us through climate chaos.
The idea of re-engineering the entire planet (geoengineering) used to be the stuff of science fiction, but in the past few years a small group of geoengineering enthusiasts has worked hard to give it a veneer of respectability. On 1st September, they will have succeeded in getting the world’s oldest scientific academy, the UK’s Royal Society, to legitimize dangerous planet-tinkering schemes with minimal transparency and even less public participation.
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.
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.
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!
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.
An international declaration was launched by 147 organisations opposing the growing hype and political support for Biochar. The groups signing the declaration "strongly oppose the inclusion of soils in carbon trade and offset mechanisms, including in the Clean Development Mechanism.” The groups further assert that ," the ‘biochar’ initiative fails to address the root causes of climate change.” 
We are grateful that the Royal Society is willing to accept a submission at this late stage in its proceedings. We regard this submission as an urgent matter, for we are alarmed at the apparent emergence of an "official view", most recently articulated by the UK House of Commons Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills, which is prepared to sanction real-world geoengineering experiments despite complete absence of any global rules or regulations. We find that emerging view complacent, irresponsible and dangerous. This short note outlines six points on the question of geoengineering governance that no study concerned with policy-making in this critical area should ignore:
OTTAWA, Canada –More than 80 civil society organizations (CSOs) from 20 countries sent a sharp message to scientists meeting in Copenhagen, by releasing a joint statement initiated at the World Social Forum in Belém, Brazil: “The Better World we seek is not Geo-engineered.” The statement is being released as a small group of scientists, using a high-profile platform at a climate-science meeting in Copenhagen1 , are ratcheting up pressure on governments to support and fund real world geo-engineering experiments. ETC Group, a Canadian-based international CSO, is releasing the statement, which focuses on ocean fertilization, one of the most controversial geo-engineering technologies. The groups assert that “Ocean fertilization and other unjust and high risk geo-engineering schemes are the wrong answer to the challenge of global climate change.”
This statement was initiated at the World Social Forum in Belém, Brazil in January 2009. ETC Group released it on March 10, 2009 on the eve of a geo-engineering panel at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions.
Since the World Social Forum last met in Nairobi in January 2007, civil society organizations from around the globe have confronted an alarming new threat to our rights and biodiversity: the threat of unjust and high risk geo-engineering schemes and specifically ocean fertilization. We are facing off against several multimillion-dollar private and government-backed projects that aim to re-engineer our climate and oceans. We will soon face other attempts to intentionally alter our soils, deserts and other ecosystems on a large scale in the name of climate protection and profit-making, including the lucrative carbon trade.
With less than a month left (March 2009) to enter ETC Group’s Pie-in-the-Sky contest, people from all over the world are sending in their outlandish ideas to re-engineer the planet so it (and we) can survive climate change.
Some professional geo-engineers have real designs in the works to manipulate the earth, sea and atmosphere on a large scale – to make carbon disappear, to keep sunlight from hitting the earth and, of course, to profit from the carbon market. They're a busy bunch: pleading their case in the press and at meetings of international environmental bodies; dumping iron particles from ships to “fertilize” the ocean; applying for monopoly patents on schemes to increase the carbon-sequestering capacity of plants by applying proprietary insecticides(!)1; and publishing articles in influential journals declaring that now is the time to “take geo-engineering out of the closet.”
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.
Click here to download the full-color print-quality poster by Stig, which includes contest details and an illustration of a “pie-in-the-sky” launch, ETC's own geoengineering bright idea. You don't need to take a workshop to join the latest DIY (Do-It-Yourself) craze! Now you can geo-engineer the great outdoors – all of it! Geo-engineering is the intentional manipulation of earth, oceans and atmosphere to stop climate change.
ETC Group joined the chorus of voices, including the German Environment Ministry, expressing its deep regret at the decision of the German Minister of Research to re-authorize the controversial LOHAFEX ocean fertilization expedition. Researchers on board the German vessel RV Polarstern have now begun dumping 6 tons of iron sulphate over 300 square kilometers of open ocean in the Scotia Sea (east of Argentina) to artificially prompt the growth of a large plankton bloom. It will be one of the largest ocean fertilization experiments to date.
A controversial climate-engineering expedition – flying the German flag – set sail from South Africa, in defiance of a United Nations agreement signed by 191 nations and brokered by Germany last May. In response, civil society groups are calling on governments and United Nations to take action.