Support Geoengineering Efforts to Mitigate Climate Change

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TargetUNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner

Goal: Encourage geoengineering efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Climate change will likely create long-lasting and widespread systematic changes across all sectors of society and affecting all corners of this world. With its effects being increasingly observed—rising surface temperatures, diminishing ice and snow coverage, variations in weather patterns and extreme weather events—greater mitigation efforts are needed to limit the pace and magnitude of climate change. However, greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts are insufficient and incapable of directly intervening the ongoing cycle of warming, thus alternative strategies must also be explored and adopted to enhance current efforts.

Geoengineering, the intentional manipulation of Earth’s systems to counteract climate change, include carbon dioxide removal technologies and solar radiation management tactics, which generally remain in their respective theoretical or developmental stages. Without any comprehensive international laws governing this field, research remains disorganized and fragmented, preventing the potential value of geoengineering from being realized and failing to pursue all available avenues in limiting the destructive capability of climate change. Furthermore, the lack of oversight and regulation increases the likelihood of rogue operations and independent field studies that could even stimulate the inertia of climate change. In 2012, American entrepreneur Russ George led a team of unidentified scientists and dispersed 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to fertilize the ocean, which seeks to increase the levels of phytoplankton and their ability to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, the results were inconclusive without external scientific review and may have instead disturbed marine ecosystems.

The development of an international agreement can solidify research, increase efficiency in developing technologies, better determine the efficacy of geoengineering, and prevent the deployment of large-scale experiments that could be disastrous. Climate change presents an unprecedented threat to the world and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner already recognizes the inadequacy of current strategies. Urge Director Steiner to take lead and initiate international discourse towards an agreement.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner,

The course of climate change remains unchanged by current mitigation efforts, if not worsened due to development and increasing energy demands. The risks to environmental, economic, political, and social stability are too great to not consider all possibilities of climate change mitigation. Geoengineering could directly counteract the ongoing pace of climate change by interrupting the positive feedback mechanism embedded in global warming. I urge you to take the initiative to begin international discourse towards an agreement for the research, development, and experimentation of geoengineering.

I urge you to promote scientific progress in geoengineering research while remaining cautious of large-scale experimentation that can result in unintended consequences. Thus proper coordination between United Nations Environmental Programme, sovereign states and scientific bodies is imperative to provide appropriate support, guidance, and enforcement.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: PS Magazine

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