The UN is scheduled to discuss pulling Carbon Dioxide out of our atmosphere and injecting aerosols into the stratosphere to block the sun.
The geo-engineering resolution is set to be discussed at the United Nations Environment Assembly next week, when it meets in Nairobi.
The body is poised to debate a resolution on geo-engineering approaches that could be used to fight climate change, elevating a controversial issue to its highest political forum yet.
A proposal backed by Switzerland and ten other countries would require the UN Environment Program (UNEP) to prepare a comprehensive assessment of geo-engineering, including methods to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere or inject aerosols into the stratosphere to block sunlight.
Preliminary discussions began this week and a final decision by government ministers could come at the end of the UN assembly’s meeting, which runs from 11–15 March.
This could be the start of the serious international deliberation on governance that has been needed for years. However blocking sunlight might not be such a good idea for the agricultural industry and global wildlife?
But concerns about the global nature of solar geo-engineering, the injection of reflective particles into the stratosphere, in particular have spurred efforts to give the governance debate more prominence within the UN.
A fleet of high-flying aircraft could pump enough sulfur into the stratosphere to offset around 1.5 °C of warming for as little as US$1 billion–$10 billion annually, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
However, scientists question whether a UNEP assessment of geo-engineering would add anything to the global debate, given that organizations such as the UK Royal Society and the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have already produced thorough analyses.
The outlook for the coming geo-engineering debate at the UN Environment Assembly is unclear. The resolution faces opposition from countries such as the USA and Saudi Arabia, as well as skepticism from NGO’s that oppose geo-engineering.
If the UN Environment Assembly approves the resolution, Ribeiro is pushing for changes that would require the participation of representatives from civil society, indigenous tribes and others in an ad-hoc advisory committee that would advise the UNEP on the assessment.
News Punch / ABC Flash Point News 2019.