Note: Rachel Smolker is co-director of Biofuelwatch, and long time friend and former staff at Global Justice Ecology Project.
–The GJEP Team
By Rachel Smolker, March 22 2013. Source: The Huffington Post
As the realities of global climate change become ever more alarming, advocates of technological approaches to “geoengineer” the planet’s climate are gaining a following.
But the technologies that are promoted — from spraying sulphate particles into the stratosphere, to dumping iron particles into the ocean, to stimulate carbon absorbing plankton, to burning millions of trees and burying the char in soils — are all fraught with clear and obvious risks, and are most likely only going to make matters worse.
Yet zeal for these approaches continues unabated. According to right-wing think tank American Enterprise Institute, geoengineering offers:
“…the marriage of capitalism and climate remediation…What if corporations shoulder more costs and lead the technological charge, all for a huge potential payoff?…Let’s hope we are unleashing enlightened capitalist forces that just might drive the kind of technological innovation necessary to genuinely tackle climate change.”
Forget about cutting emissions: manipulating the atmosphere and biosphere through geoengineering is the only sensible option for business and thus policy makers, they claim. Continue reading
Filed under Climate Change, Tar Sands, Greenwashing, Biodiversity, Energy, Carbon Trading, Food Sovereignty, False Solutions to Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Green Economy, Geoengineering, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy
Note: While dive-bombing storms with sea salt might seem harmless at first glance, strategies like this one which seek to engineer weather and climate systems are foolhardy, controversial, and downright dangerous. This fall, international outcry ensued after a rogue would-be geoengineer dumped piles of iron into the Pacific, with the intention of striking it rich through carbon credits issued for carbon sequestration.
For more information on the risks of geoengineering, check out ETC Group and the Hands Off Mother Earth (HOME) campaign.
–The GJEP Team
By Dyna Rochmyaningsih, February 19, 2013. Source: The Guardian
A boy plays in a flooded road in Jakarta. Indonesia has turned to cloud seeding to prevent further flooding. Photo: Enny Nuraheni/Reuters
Indonesia is banking on an unusual strategy to prevent further flooding in its inundated capital Jakarta, and officials claim that they are already seeing positive results.
They are using ‘cloud seeding’ — a weather modification technology often resorted to during drought. The method involves injecting clouds with substances that encourage the formation of ice crystals heavy enough to fall, thereby speeding up the production of rain.
Rain is the last thing that Indonesia needs now, as it has been experiencing heavy rainfall since mid-January.
But Indonesian scientists believe that inducing rains to fall over theocean before the rainclouds reach the city will help prevent further flooding in Jakarta. Continue reading
January 22 2013. Source: ETC Group
Photo: ETC Group
Gaia is complicated. From stratospheric currents to undersea rivers – and from plankton to palm tree emissions and sequestrations – quantifying, qualifying and calibrating planetary systems is at least as challenging as understanding genes or neurons. Despite decades of modeling, we are no more likely to predict next month’s best picnic day than we are to anticipate the proclivities of our DNA or to trace a memory in our cranium. Frustratingly, we have learned to map and manipulate genomes, geographies and memories, but we can’t control the consequences. Continue reading
Note: Dangerous false solutions like geoengineering pose a massive risk to the planet. The risks associated with dumping minerals into the ocean – many of which would be unknown and untested – far outweigh the benefits. And considering this proposed technique would only require a 10 percent reduction in carbon in the atmosphere, and wouldn’t account for all the emissions used to create the needed materials, it hardly seems worth exploring.
-The GJEP Team
By Damian Carrington, January 22, 2013. Source: The Guardian
Adding more silicate through mineral dust would alter the species of plankton that grows in the seas, the research shows. Photo: Wim van Egmond/Corbis
Sprinkling billions of tonnes of mineral dust across the oceans could quickly remove a vast quantities of climate-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a new study.
The proposed “geoengineering” technique would also offset the acidification of the oceans and could be targeted at endangered coral reefs, but it would require a mining effort on the same scale as the world’s coal industry and would alter the biology of the oceans.
“It certainly is not a simple solution against the global warming problem,” said Peter Köhler, at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, who led the study. It would require 100 large ships operating all year to distribute 1bn tonnes of the mineral olivine, although it might be possible to use the ballast water in existing shipping instead.
Techniques aimed at averting global warming could lead to an unpredictable international crisis, a report has warned
John Vidal, 9 January 2013. Source: The UK Guardian
The world’s climate could be hijacked by a rogue country or wealthy individual firing small particles into the stratosphere, claims a warning that comes not from a new Hollywood movie trailer but a sober report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The deployment of independent, large-scale “geoengineering” techniques aimed at averting dangerous warming warrants more research because it could lead to an international crisis with unpredictable costs to agriculture, infrastructure and global stability, said the Geneva-based WEF in its annual Global Risks report before the Davos economic summit later this month. It also warned that ongoing economic weakness is sapping the ability of governments to tackle the growing threat of climate change.
“The global climate could, in effect, be hijacked. For example, an island state threatened with rising sea levels may decide they have nothing to lose, or a well-funded individual with good intentions may take matters into their own hands,” the report notes. It said there are “signs that this is already starting to occur”, highlighting the case of a story broken by the Guardian involving the dumping of 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off the Canadian coast in 2012, in a bid to spawn plankton and capture carbon.
Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.
This week’s Earth Minute addresses the UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, and why many climate justice organizations have decided not to attend this year’s climate conference, and are organizing with social movements and communities instead.
Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Doha/COP-18, Earth Audio podcasts / MP3s, Earth Minute, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Geoengineering, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Oil, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Synthetic Biology, UNFCCC
By Naomi Klein, October 27, 2012. Source: New York Times Sunday Review
FOR almost 20 years, I’ve been spending time on a craggy stretch of British Columbia’s shoreline called the Sunshine Coast. This summer, I had an experience that reminded me why I love this place, and why I chose to have a child in this sparsely populated part of the world.
It was 5 a.m. and my husband and I were up with our 3-week-old son. Looking out at the ocean, we spotted two towering, black dorsal fins: orcas, or killer whales. Then two more. We had never seen an orca on the coast, and never heard of their coming so close to shore. In our sleep-deprived state, it felt like a miracle, as if the baby had wakened us to make sure we didn’t miss this rare visit.
The possibility that the sighting may have resulted from something less serendipitous did not occur to me until two weeks ago, when I read reports of a bizarre ocean experiment off the islands of Haida Gwaii, several hundred miles from where we spotted the orcas swimming.
By Stephanie Pappas, 18 October, 2012. Source: LiveScience.com
A controversial experiment in which more than 200,000 pounds ofiron sulfate were dumped into the Pacific Ocean west of Canada has scientists calling for more transparency in geoengineering.
Geoengineering is any deliberate and large-scale manipulation of environmental processes in order to impact Earth’s climate. Some geoengineering projects, like the recent one, can have other impacts like boosting fish populations.
The project was conducted by a local group, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, under the scientific advice of American businessman Russ George, formerly the CEO of a company called Planktos, Inc. The goal, according to Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, was to trigger plankton blooms to restore salmon and other fish populations. Phytoplankton, teensy floating plants at the base of the ocean food chain, need iron to grow.
Similar ocean-fertilization schemes have been proposed as a way to lessen climate change, as phytoplankton take up carbon dioxide on the ocean’s surface and sink to the bottom, removing carbon from the atmosphere.
This geoengineered approach to solving climate change is controversial, but even researchers who think it has promise said the Canadian experiment went about it the wrong way.
“It should have been done by a group of neutral scientists,” said Victor Smetacek, a researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany who conducted a small-scale ocean-fertilization experiment in 2009. Smetacek added, “The thing is, it’s going to give iron fertilization a bad name.”
By Martin Lukacs, October 17, 2012. Source: The Guardian
Note: It was bad enough when news broke earlier this week that an American “entrepreneur” had illegally dumped iron into the Pacific, in hopes of eventually cashing in on carbon credits. But now it seems that this rogue actor was not acting alone. In fact, it appears that Russ George had the full support of the Canadian government to violate an international moratorium on geoengineering and entirely mislead indigenous communities into supporting a fraudulent “salmon restoration” project. Just more proof that government and business are on the same side, and they are betting on the worst-case scenario for the majority of the world. You can read more about this deplorable scandal here
-The GJEP Team
Haida Gwaii, BC, Canada. Photo: Russ Heinl/Alamy
As controversy mounts over the Guardian’s revelations that an American businessman conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, dumping around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada’s coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineeringscheme and not stopped it.
The news combined, with Canadian obstructionism in negotiations over geoengineering at a United Nations biodiversity meeting in Hyderabad, India, has angered international civil society groups, who have announced they are singling out Canada for a recognition of shame at the summit – the Dodo award for actions that harm biodiversity.
They are criticising Canada for being one of “four horsemen of geoengineering”, joining Britain, Australia and New Zealand in opposing southern countries’ efforts to beef up the existing moratorium ontechnological fixes for global warming.
The chief executive of the company responsible for spawning the artificial 10,000 square kilometre plankton bloom in the Pacific Ocean has implicated several Canadian departments, but government officials are remaining silent about the nature of their involvement.
By Martin Lukacs, October 15, 2012. Source: The Guardian
Note: Another carbon cowboy, blatantly disregarding international law and the rights of indigenous peoples, in an attempt to profit from dangerous new techno-fixes and market-based false solutions to climate change. As international environmental governance continues to trend towards offering ‘incentives’ (read: investment opportunities) to facilitate private sector engagement, we can only expect that these stories of ‘rogue’ actors will increasingly define the normal way of doing ‘green’ business. -The GJEP Team
Yellow and brown colours show relatively high concentrations of chlorophyll in August 2012, after iron sulphate was dumped into the Pacific Ocean as part of a controversial geoengineering scheme. Photograph: Giovanni/Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center/NASA
A controversial American businessman dumped around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July, a Guardian investigation can reveal.
Lawyers, environmentalists and civil society groups are calling it a “blatant violation” of two international moratoria and the news is likely to spark outrage at a United Nations environmental summit taking place in India this week.
Satellite images appear to confirm the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. The intention is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and then sink to the ocean bed – a geoengineering technique known as ocean fertilisation that he hopes will net lucrative carbon credits.