Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ecologic Institute Pushes Restrictive Approach to Geoengineering Governance

In a post last month, I reported on comments made by a European Commission official at a June conference on geoengineering governance held in Brussels (see Insights Into European Commission Views on Geoengineering, 7/6).  A principal focus of this conference was a presentation by the Ecologic Institute, an international environmental think-tank, on its views regarding governance of geoengineering research and deployment.  This presentation is now public, and recommends broad restrictions on all research and development efforts.

Ecologic's primary recommendation for geoengineering governance is a "prohibition in principle, combined with clear conditions for exceptions, e.g. for legitimate research" (slide 7, emphasis original).  The scope for conducting "legitimate" research would be quite limited--the suggested prohibition would "in principle include research activities beyond 'indoor' activities, but also a potential exemption under clearly defined conditions" (slide 8, emphasis original).  Ecologic goes on to recommend the "CBD [as a] prime candidate for becoming the central [governance] institution recognised as a first point of contact and overarching functions" (slide 13, emphasis original).

The Ecologic position essentially calls for an extension and institutionalization of the status quo as represented by the current CBD moratorium.  The Ecologic Institute has worked closely with the CBD in the past, as it was primarily responsible for authoring the Convention's 2012 regulatory report on geoengineering.  The Institute's current recommendations are based on earlier work performed for the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), which itself released the unfavorable 2011 report "Geoengineering: Effective Climate Protection or Megalomania?" (see Two New German Government Reports, 12/19/11).

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