U.N. urged to freeze climate geo-engineering projects
2010-11-10 0:00

By Chisa Fujioka | reuters.com


The United Nations should impose a moratorium on "geo-engineering" projects such as artificial volcanoes and vast cloud-seeding schemes to fight climate change, green groups say, fearing they could harm nature and mankind.

The risks were too great because the impacts of manipulating nature on a vast scale were not fully known, the groups said at a major U.N. meeting in Japan aimed at combating increasing losses of plant and animal species.

Envoys from nearly 200 countries are gathered in Nagoya, Japan, to agree targets to fight the destruction of forests, rivers and coral reefs that provide resources and services central to livelihoods and economies.

A major cause for the rapid losses in nature is climate change, the United Nations says, raising the urgency for the world to do whatever it can to curb global warming and prevent extreme droughts, floods and rising sea levels.

Some countries regard geo-engineering projects costing billions of dollars as a way to control climate change by cutting the amount of sunlight hitting the earth or soaking up excess greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide.

"It's absolutely inappropriate for a handful of governments in industrialized countries to make a decision to try geo-engineering without the approval of all the world's support," Pat Mooney, from Canada-headquartered advocacy organization ETC Group, told Reuters on the sidelines of the October 18-29 meeting.

"They shouldn't proceed with real-life, in-the-environment experimentation or the deployment of any geo-engineering until there is a consensus in the United Nations that this is okay."

Some conservation groups say geo-engineering is a way for some governments and companies to get out of taking steps to slash planet-warming emissions.

The U.N. climate panel says a review of geo-engineering will be part of its next major report in 2013.

Solar Reflectors

Some of the geo-engineering schemes proposed include:

-- Ocean fertilization. Large areas are sprinkled with iron or other nutrients to artificially spur growth of phytoplankton, which soak up carbon dioxide. But this could trigger harmful algal blooms, soak up nutrients and kill fish and other animals.

-- Spray seawater into the atmosphere to increase the reflectivity and condensation of clouds so they bounce more sunlight back into space.

-- Placing trillions of tiny solar reflectors out in space to cut the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth.

-- Artificial volcanoes. Tiny sulfate particles or other materials are released into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight, simulating the effect of a major volcanic eruption.

-- Carbon capture and storage. Supported by a number of governments and involves capturing CO2 from power stations, refineries and natural gas wells and pumping it deep underground.

Mooney said the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) should expand its de-facto moratorium on ocean fertilization agreed in 2008 to all geo-engineering, although the proposal was resisted by some countries, including Canada, earlier this year.

Canada said in Nagoya that it would work with the CBD.

"Canada was simply concerned about the lack of clarity on definitions including what activities are included in 'geo-engineering'," Cynthia Wright, head of the delegation, said in an email response.

"Canada shares concerns of the international community about potential negative impacts of geo-engineering on biodiversity and is willing to work with other CBD Parties to avoid these impacts," she said.

Environmentalists said geo-engineering went against the spirit of the Nagoya talks, which aims to set new targets for 2020 to protect nature, such as setting up more land and marine protected areas, cutting pollution and managing fishing.

"We are certainly in favor of more (geo-engineering) research, as in all fields, but not any implementation for the time being because it's too dangerous. We don't know what the effects can be," said Francois Simard of conservation group IUCN.

"Improving nature conservation is what we should do in order to fight climate change, not trying to change nature."

Source: < href="http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE69K18320101021?pageNumber=1" target="_blank">reuters.com



Related Articles
The Doomsday Machine and the Race to Save the World: Geoengineering Emerges as Plan B at the 11th Hour
GeoEngineering Watch Site


Latest News from our Front Page

Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North. The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night. A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked. The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough. Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield. Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
2016-04-27 2:23
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July. The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown. The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent. He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are. ... London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race. Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event. Marathon ...
More News »