Green groups slam geoengineering proposals

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Yesterday, 125 international and national organizations hit out at proposals from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that geoengineering projects could be the answer to climate change.

The IPCC will next week hold a geoengineering meeting in Lima at which it's expected to propose a series of measures designed to counter global warming, including blasting particles into the stratosphere to block sunlight and 'fertilizing' oceans to grow plankton blooms for carbon sequestration.

But in an open letter, the ETC Group criticizes the IPCC for reneging on its pledge to be policy-neutral. The Scientific Steering Committee (SSG) that organized the expert meeting, it says, includes geoengineering researchers who have pushed for real-world experimentation, as well as scientists with financial interests in geoengineering, such as patents pending.

"This is not a scientific question; it¹s a political one," says Meenakshi Raman from Third World Network Malaysia.

The group says that geoengineering is dangerous, gives great potential for profiteering, and encourages governments to avoid their responsibilities.

"It¹s a convenient way for Northern governments to dodge their
commitments to emissions reduction. But the climate is a complex system; manipulating climate in one place could have grave environmental, social and economic impacts on countries and peoples that had no say on the issue," says the ETC Group's Silvia Ribeiro.

"Scientists estimate that blasting particles into the stratosphere could alter monsoon and wind patterns and put at risk the food and water sources for 2 billion people."