Sunday, 26 February 2012

AMEG

Interesting post from Josh Horton yesterday (25/02) here:

http://geoengineeringpolitics.blogspot.com/2012/02/environmental-audit-committee-hearing.html

I agree with most of his interpretation but find the last paragraph somewhat negative. Josh writes:

'On balance, geoengineering did not fare well in the hearing. This is not surprising given that its implementation in the Arctic is clearly premature at present. The absence of support from the scientific establishment for rapid implementation ought to signal to advocates of Arctic deployment that the case for action now is not persuasive, and calls for geoengineering in the near future are unwise. Unfortunately, AMEG and its sympathizers may draw the opposite conclusion, and redouble their efforts to convince sceptical scientists and policymakers that the end is nigh, further marginalizing geoengineering in the process.'

I agree, after reviewing the video (thanks Josh) that geoengineering did not fare that well. I also highly doubt AMEG are going to change their minds. However, what I find comforting is that researchers into geoengineering have been very quick to argue strongly that rapid deployment in the artic is hugely premature and exceptionally unwise. Those researching both cloud whitening and stratospheric aerosols (both presented as potential solutions by AMEG) have been exceptionally clear on this.  Surely this points to strong self-governance and undermines the argument that those seriously researching geoengineering are desperate to deploy?

The researchers within SPICE are universally opposed to rapid (timescale months) deployment, specifically using SPICE technology, as proposed by AMEG. Deployment cannot be undertaken due to:

(1) our total lack of understanding of the risks
(2) serious ethical and governance issues as yet wholly unresolved
(3) a lack of consensus (in fact the AMEG are in the minority) about methane production from the arctic, as described by Tim Lenton
(4) practical technological developmental times (absolute minimum 3-5 years - specific to SPICE - this development time is for the technology only and does not consider the impacts of deployment in the arctic).

We simply cannot deploy any such technologies without fully considering all the facets of all the consequences of geoengineering (especially true for SRM) and even then it may not be apposite, legal or ethically acceptable to do so.

It is worth noting (lest I fall into a trap I've already highlighted) - http://thereluctantgeoengineer.blogspot.com/2011/06/ecotopia-new-moral-hazard.html - that the situation in the artic (in terms of sea ice loss) is real and serious. The most alarming thing to me is the lack of understanding of this issue from within the environmental audit commission itself.


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