IPCC assesses geoengineering proposals

Dees Illustration

Zoraida Portillo
SciDev

[LIMA] Geoengineering experts, who gathered this week to assess proposals for manipulating the earth to avoid climate disaster, have stressed that they are not planning to make recommendations about actions the world should take — but are merely assessing whether the proposals are sound science.

Spraying the atmosphere with aerosols; changing the colour of clouds; and ‘fertilising’ oceans with iron to increase their absorption of carbon dioxide; were some of the technological options evaluated by the international expert group at the first global meeting on geoengineering this week (20–22 June) in Peru.

The outcomes from the meeting — closed to the public and convened by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — will contribute to the IPCC’s fifth assessment report, due for publication next year.

Environmental and human rights organisations from 40 countries sent an open letter to IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, protesting against the use of geoengineering to change the climate. The letter deemed the practice “alarming” and warned that the IPCC “must take great care not to squander its credibility on … a topic that is gathering steam precisely when there is no real progress on mitigation and adaptation”.

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