January 31, 2007

Gambling with Gaia

ETC Group Warns that US Government’s Push for Geoengineering is Unacceptable
On the day before the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounds its loudest alarm yet, ETC Group warns that some OECD states, led by the United States, are betting on a pie-in-the-sky techno-fix to address climate change. “Geoengineering” refers to the intentional, large-scale manipulation of the environment to bring about environmental change. With no hope for Kyoto, little political will to ask industry or voters to change lifestyles and a growing recognition that carbon trading is a farce, some governments are concluding that massive earth restructuring is the only way out. The Guardian reported earlier this week that the US government is lobbying the IPCC to promote geoengineering activities, such as deliberately polluting the stratosphere to deflect sunlight and lower temperatures. (1)

“We already know that humans can geoengineer planet earth – that’s why we have climate change,” said Pat Mooney, Executive Director of ETC Group. “The notion that we can successfully correct our unintentional destructiveness with intentional geoengineering is ludicrous. For the governments who caused the problem to experiment together on geoengineering solutions – outside the UN and without the participation of the South who bear the brunt of global warming and would likely bear the risks of geoengineering – is a grave miscalculation,” said Mooney. 

According to ETC Group’s 18-page report, “Gambling with Gaia,” at least 9 national governments and the European Union have supported experiments to spread iron filings on the ocean surface to nurture plankton and sequester carbon dioxide. At least a dozen additional countries are involved in stratospheric weather/climate modification. Commercial carbon traders are engaging in ocean fertilization as well. The scientific debate and the government/commercial experimentation are taking place in the absence of public participation.

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