Take old and new scientific disciplines, mix in energy security, economics and geopolitics. Sprinkle some political ideologies seasoned with ulterior motives, and simmer for 20 years. And what you get is the climate change debate marinated in plenty of confusion, misinformation and divisiveness.
The 2012 UN Climate Change Conference, COP 18/CMP is just around the corner scheduled to take place in Qatar (November 26th - December 7th . Christiana Figueres, Executive Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) seems optimistic that governments around the world are inching ever closer to reaching an agreement to agree. Yes we have heard it all before and yet here we are 18 years later with mounting pressure to finalise the treaty process, after years of failed attempt to materialise an agreement.
With billions at stake for carbon traders (whose markets expire with the Kyoto protocol), global warming science and policy campaigners, developed/developing nations and subsidised industries, will all came together to push for a new treaty.
However given the current economic climate the question on every one’s mind is going to be will it impose crippling costs and regulations that will choke off any hope for economic recovery, while doing little to alter the climate. But despite the politically correct rhetoric and sound bites, we also see an emergence of a ‘Global Climate Crisis Management Team’, ready to ‘Geo-engineer’ us out of the mess.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Director, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 25 Sep 2012 - The next steps on the climate change agenda
What is Geo-engineering?
Geo-engineering is defined as the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system, in order to moderate global warming. It is is generally divided into two basic categories:
- (CDR) Carbon Dioxide Removal techniques, which remove CO2 from the atmosphere and
- (SRM) Solar Radiation Management, which aims to reflect a percentage of the sun’s light and heat back into space.
Geo-engineering is fast becoming the new ‘buzz word’ among scientist and policy makers and is currently leveraged by some quarters to whip public opinion, along with political muscle into accepting measures that by comparison may seem less iniquitous.
The President of the Royal Society explains: “Most nations now recognise the need to shift to a low-carbon economy, and nothing should divert us from the main priority of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. But if such reductions achieve too little, too late, there will surely be pressure to consider a ‘plan B’—to seek ways to counteract the climatic effects of greenhouse gas emissions by ‘Geo-engineering’.” (from Lord Rees of Ludlow OM ForwardGeo-engineering the climate: science, governance and uncertainty The Royal Society Geo-engineering the Climate September 2009)
Injecting reflecting Aluminium particles into earth orbit.
John Holdren, Barack Obama’s advisor on science and technology said: “There are a variety of schemes that have been discussed for Geo-engineering, a classic example is injecting reflecting particles into earth orbit.”