Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Canadian ETC Group Warns Against British Geo-Engineering Experiments

A wacky British "Earth-cooling" project that has the flavour of mad science or a '50s comic has attracted negative reaction from around the globe, including Canada.

A group of British scientists are preparing to unleash an experiment intended to mimic the effect of a volcano, ultimately scattering water and other particles into the atmosphere, with the result of "cooling" the Earth. The project involves a balloon the size of Wembley Stadium connected to the ground by a hose.

According to the Guardian article, ETC Group, a multinational NGO based in Canada, has come out strongly against the whole concept.

"What is being floated is not only a hose but the whole idea of geo-engineering the planet. This is a huge waste of time and money and shows the UK government's disregard for UN processes. It is the first step in readying the hardware to inject particles into the stratosphere. It has no other purpose and it should not be allowed to go ahead," said Pat Mooney, chair of ETC Group in Canada, an NGO that supports socially responsible development of technology.

ETC Group has created a body of work that addresses global environmental issues and has been actively cautioning about jumping into geo-engineering of many types.

In an open letter to the IPCC's working group meeting held in Peru this June, ETC said, "The prospects of artificially changing the chemistry of our oceans to absorb more CO2, modifying the Earth’s radiative balance, devising new carbon sinks in fragile ecosystems, redirecting hurricanes and other extreme weather events are alarming."

Among the potential risks are "accidents, dangerous experiments, inadequate risk assessment, unexpected impacts, unilateralism, private profiteering, disruption of agriculture, inter-state conflict, illegitimate political goals and negative consequences for the global South is high".

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