In response to reports that British scientists are about to test the hardware needed to put sulphur particles in the stratosphere as a climate technofix, international technology watchdog ETC Group is calling on the UK government to halt the controversial test and respect UN processes underway to discuss these issues.
As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) wound up its expert meeting on geoengineering in Lima, Peru, which included all three IPCC Working Groups, it committed to remain “policy relevant but not policy prescriptive.” Despite getting off on the wrong foot (no transparency), with some of the wrong experts (scientists with financial interests), on some of the wrong topics (governance), the IPCC has now confirmed that it will not make recommendations to governments regarding research funding for the controversial technologies, governance models or the legality of experimentation.
At a press briefing following the close of the expert meeting, the IPCC stated that its focus will be “establishing the scientific foundations for an assessment of geoengineering.” This assessment would include risks, costs, benefits and social and economic impacts, intended and unintended consequences as well as uncertainties and gaps in knowledge and will be based solely on peer-reviewed literature. “Of course, a real assessment of geoengineering will need to be much broader than a scientific peer-review process,” said Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group from Lima, though outside the meeting. “Civil society organizations have been clear that we do not want these dangerous technologies developed; they are a new threat from the very same countries that are responsible for the climate crisis in the first place!”
125 international and national organizations, representing at least 40 countries from all continents, sent an open letter to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), demanding a clear statement of its commitment to precaution and to the existing international moratorium on geoengineering. The IPCC will hold an expert meeting on geoengineering 20-22 June in Lima, Peru.
The undersigned organizations would like to express our concerns about the upcoming IPCC joint working group expert meeting on geoengineering to be held in Lima, Peru, June 20-22, 2011.
ETC Group brings a new report – "The Big Downturn? Nanogeopolitics" to the conversation at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, 2011. ETC Group’s 68-page report provides a current snapshot of global investment, markets, governance and control of nanotechnology, including patenting.
This week (02/2011) ETC Group travels to Dakar to meet friends and partners – new, old and yet-to-be – to learn, listen and share information about corporate power and emerging technologies, including their impacts on marginalized communities. In the run-up to the Rio+20 Summit in May 2012, the international community will be confronted with a challenging list of so-called ‘green economy’ technology and policy proposals – as well as major agricultural and environmental institutional decisions.
The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released its recommendations on the oversight of synthetic biology, provoking strong criticism from public interest watchdogs for its failure to respond to key environmental and public health risks.
In a letter sent to the commission, 58 environmental, public interest, and religious groups rejected the recommendations as a deeply flawed response to advances in synthetic biology, including the creation this year of the first entirely synthetic organism, that demand strong federal oversight.
The New Biomassters - Synthetic Biology and the Next Assault on Biodiversity and Livelihoods
Geopiracy: The Case Against Geoengineering
Gene Giants Stockpile Patents on “Climate-Ready” Crops in Bid to Become Biomassters
On 29 October 2010, the Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a decision that amounts to a de facto moratorium on geoengineering and, almost as importantly, affirmed the UN’s leadership in addressing these issues. Since then, many commentators (both those opposed to and supportive of geoengineering) have circulated erroneous statements concerning the import of the decision.
In a landmark consensus decision, the 193-member UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) closed its tenth biennial meeting with a de facto moratorium on geoengineering projects and experiments. “Any private or public experimentation or adventurism intended to manipulate the planetary thermostat will be in violation of this carefully crafted UN consensus,” stated Silvia Ribeiro, Latin American Director of ETC Group.