While most scientists left the Copenhagen Climate Summit feeling gloomy about their influence, a small group of geoengineering advocates came away emboldened by the summit’s weak outcome and uncertain road ahead. This group of scientists aims to get on with research and experimentation in controversial geoengineering technologies. Their real excitement is over “solar radiation management” (SRM). This is a way of “cooling down the planet’s thermostat” by reflecting a portion of the sun’s rays back to outer space, through a variety of techniques ranging from sunshades in space, to aerosol sulphates in the stratosphere, to whitening clouds. These high-risk, planet-altering schemes affect global warming without changing its cause which is excessive greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Over 160 civil society groups, including social movements and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), released a joint declaration on technology: “Let's Look Before We Leap!”. The declaration alerts governments to the absence of any precautionary environmental and social assessment mechanisms in the draft Copenhagen agreement on technology, and claims that the current approach poses grave threats to human health, human rights, rural livelihoods, diverse ecosystems and climate stability.
An international group of more than 150 civil society groups from 36 countries will release a joint declaration calling upon governments in Copenhagen to revamp the draft text on technology transfer, to ensure that the precautionary principle is respected and that high-risk and unproven climate “techno-fixes” are not allowed to put the world at risk.
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.
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.