Tuesday, November 8, 2011

UK Government Rejects Call to Suspend SPICE

As the debate over SPICE intensified in late September, the anti-geoengineering HOME campaign called on the UK government to suspend, if not cancel, the stratospheric aerosol research project. While the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) subsequently imposed a six-month delay on the project in order to conduct additional stakeholder consultations (see Lessons from the SPICE Delay, 10/15/11), the government has now responded to HOME's request with a firm "no." In a letter to HOME and its supporters, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has reiterated that research councils, not governments, are the appropriate bodies for making specific project funding decisions. DECC rejects every argument put forward by HOME in opposition to SPICE: SPICE does not violate the CBD; SPICE does not distract from emissions mitigation efforts; SPICE does not undermine the UK's international negotiating position on climate change. Contrary to what HOME asserts, "Geoengineering research is not a first step to deployment; rather it increases understanding of the issue and allows rational discussion and evidence-based policy to be developed." From a political perspective, the DECC letter is a good example of how to respond to attacks from HOME and ETC Group in a way that is concise, comprehensive, and persuasive, without giving these groups unwarranted and undeserved attention.

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