Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Controlling the weather has always been a goal of mankind – and some have sought to weaponize it. Nonetheless, toxic chemtrails wafting overhead have been ignored for the past 5 years despite their omnipresence! Now the topic is hitting the main stream press – see below.
Geoengineers are free to legally hack the climate
Editorial: “Should we give the green light to geoengineers?”
THE idea of artificially cooling the climate may have come in from the cold, but the laws governing trials of the technology are still all at sea. Many people think such trials are illegal, but this is not the case, according to an analysis of environmental treaties.
The latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change includes geoengineering – a sure sign that the idea has become respectable. But research and field trials are needed before we know whether influencing the climate like this is a viable option for cooling Earth.
This is easier said than done. In 2010, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) forbade any form of geoengineering that could affect biodiversity – which is effectively all of them. And any geoengineering that involves adding chemicals to the ocean, to increase the carbon sequestered, for example, is prohibited by the London Convention and Protocol (LCP). However, some small-scale trials have gone ahead.
To find out the legal status of such trials, Jesse Reynolds of Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands went through the fine print of 15 major environmental treaties, including the CBD, the LCP and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He found that apart from the LCP’s ruling on dumping material into the sea, which is legally binding, the language of the other treaties actually permits field tests. The CBD statement, for example, merely “invites” governments to ensure no geoengineering activities take place, rather than making it a legal requirement to do so (Washington and Lee Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment, ssrn.com/=2326913).
Reynolds found that most of the treaties encouraged countries to perform research, clean up pollution and minimise risks. Because geoengineering research is meant to reduce the risk from climate change, Reynolds says “international environmental law generally favours such field tests”.
“The fallback position is that countries are more or less free to do what they want,” says Scott Barrett of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York.
The ambiguous legal situation needs clearing up, says Barrett. For example, countries could agree basic rules. Those planning large trials ought to say so, he says: “There should be a presumption of the whole world going together.”
Many treaties could incorporate rules on geoengineering, but Barrett says the obvious choice is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which holds its next meeting in November in Warsaw, Poland. “If this is to be discussed anywhere, it should be there,” he says.
Correction: When this article was first published on 30 October 2013, the month of the UNFCCC meeting in Poland was ambiguous.
This article appeared in print under the headline “Geoengineers can legally hack climate”