November 03, 2022

False Solutions Alert: Geoengineering in Climate Negotiations

Geoengineering comprises a set of technologies that include interventions on land, in the oceans, or in the atmosphere.
Report cover showing a spanner around the planet

Geoengineering – the large-scale and intentional technological manipulation of the planet’s climate – is creeping onto the agenda and into the processes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) despite multiple concerns about potential environmental and social impacts.

ETC is launching a new briefing, intended as an initial guide for those wanting to know more about these concerns and where and how geoengineering is being promoted within climate negotiations (both in terms of the elevation of geoengineering-friendly ‘narratives’ and with respect to specific policy proposals like the development of new carbon markets).

Here are some key findings:
Negotiations around Article 6.4  could result in building a market for an explosion of geoengineering techniques.

Marine geoengineering is being pushed in the UNFCCC and the Ocean and Climate Dialogues with narratives around ‘blue carbon’.

Even spaces like Article 6.8, Global Stocktake and Response Measures could be vulnerable to geoengineering proposals.

Our briefing shows how narratives like ‘nature-based solutions’ and ‘net zero’ provide the foundation for these proposals and risk creating land grabs, soil grabs, and more recently, ocean grabs.

The expansion of geoengineering in climate negotiations comes with huge risks, and developments within the UNFCCC contrast with the cautious approach to geoengineering being taken in other intergovernmental fora such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the London Convention on ocean dumping.

Related Fora: 

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