The United States joined Saudi Arabia to derail a UN resolution that sought to improve the world’s understanding of potential…
MARCH 22 2019
The United States joined Saudi Arabia to derail a UN resolution that sought to improve the world’s understanding of potential efforts to lace the sky with sunlight-reflecting aerosols or use carbon-catching fans. The measure called for a report on carbon capture and solar radiation management.
The two countries were joined by Brazil in blocking the resolution at the UN Environment Assembly conference in Nairobi, Kenya, earlier this week. The measure asked the world’s decision making body on the environment to commission a report outlining research and planning related to carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management. Those controversial efforts are still in the planning stage and are not operational.
Switzerland and nine other nations originally asked the UN Environment Program for guidance on possible future governance options and analysis of the implications of geoengineering, but they agreed to substantially reduce the scope of their resolution in hopes that the United States, Saudi Arabia and Brazil would allow it to move forward.
The final version, which failed to gain consensus Wednesday, would have asked UNEP only to provide a compilation by next year of current scientific research on geoengineering and U.N. bodies that have adopted resolutions regarding it.
The proponents wished to see UNEA become the institutional home for geoengineering within the UN structure. But sources said the United States in particular insisted that questions about geoengineering be left to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body with a narrow focus on global warming.
Geoengineering will be a key part of the IPCC’s upcoming Sixth Assessment Report to be published in 2021 and 2022, and sources say the U.S. negotiators refused to agree to any other study or assessment that would be published before it.
The United States’ focus on the IPCC raised eyebrows. Both the United States and Saudi Arabia angered parties at the U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland, in December by questioning IPCC’s work.
The two countries joined Russia to block a popular proposal to “welcome” last year’s landmark IPCC report that said the world must act aggressively to counteract climate change within 12 years. The special report said that failing to do so would result in catastrophic effects.
Besides Switzerland, the motion was backed by Burkina Faso, Micronesia, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Mali, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, Niger and Senegal. Other parties, including some European nations and Bolivia, argued for even stronger language for using caution in approaching geoengineering. None of them opposed the final resolution.
The final version of the measure included a lengthy preamble that expressed concern about the “potential transboundary risks and adverse impacts of carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management on the environment and sustainable development.”
It also emphasized the importance of “applying the precautionary principle” when fiddling with the world’s thermostat. (Click to Source)
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