Techno-Fixes and Issues of Governance
In the age of what seems like endless technological innovation, fixing the climate crisis with technology seems like an attractive solution. Geoengineering refers to large scale projects that aim to alter the earth’s natural systems to reduce the effects of climate change. This includes ideas like solar radiation management (SRM), which aim to reflect sunlight back into space, and carbon dioxide removal (CDR), which suck carbon out of the atmosphere and put it into various carbon sinks.
At first glance, geoengineering may seem like a great idea. In reality, geoengineering is a dangerous distraction that perpetuates the root causes of the climate crisis. Geoengineering technologies have yet to be tested and invented, so relying on them to solve the climate crisis is relying on technology that doesn’t exist. In the words of the Hands off Mother Earth Manifesto, “Geoengineering perpetuates the false belief that today’s unjust, ecologically- and socially-devastating industrial model of production and consumption cannot be changed and that we therefore need techno-fixes to tame its effects. However, the shifts and transformations we really need to face the climate crisis are fundamentally economic, political, social and cultural.”
In this section, you will learn about different geoengineering technologies, the relationship between geoengineering and “business as usual,” and how it all relates to climate justice.
What is geoengineering?
How does geoengineering relate to climate justice?
- Can geoengineering be governed?
Geoengineering and indigenous peoples
Why is geoengineering so dangerous?
Geoengineering and “business as usual”.
Why is geoengineering threatening?
What is the relationship between geoengineering and current industries?
What can I do about geoengineering?
Geoengineering Technologies Explained
By Heinrich Böll Stiftung
“The notion of geoengineering includes a wide array of technologies centered around reflecting sunlight back into space or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. All seek to intervene in and alter earth systems on a large scale – a “technofix” to climate change.
The technologies proposed all come with far-reaching and profound social, political, and environmental risks and impacts. The effects would - by nature of the intervention - be transboundary, as well as potentially large-scale, unpredictable and irreversible.”
By ETC Group and the Heinrich Boll Foundation
“This interactive geoengineering map, prepared by ETC Group and the Heinrich Boell Foundation, is an attempt to shed light on the worldwide state of geoengineering by showing the scope of research and experimentation. There is no complete record of weather and climate control projects so this map is necessarily partial. It builds on an earlier map of Earth Systems Experimentation published in 2012. That original map documented almost 300 projects and experiments related to the field of geoengineering. Five years later over 800 such projects can be identified. These include projects in Carbon Capture, Solar Radiation Management, Weather Modification and other approaches.”
Hands off Mother Earth - Manifesto Against Geoengineering
By Civil society organizations, popular movements, indigenous people, peasant groups, academics, intellectuals, writers, workers, artists, and concerned citizens
This manifesto, signed by over 180 organizations, explains geoengineering issues in detail. The manifesto calls for a ban on geoengineering and geoengineering experiments, and a global governing body that can enforce the ban.
Riding the Geostorm: A briefing from civil society on geoengineering governance
By ETC Group and Heinrich Boll Foundation
“When speaking about geoengineering governance, a sensible first question is whether geoengineering, with its inherently high risks, unequal impacts, long term effects and broad geopolitical, military, environmental and global justice implications, is even possible to “govern.””
Fuel to the Fire: How Geoengineering Threatens to Entrench Fossil Fuels and Accelerate the Climate Crisis
Center for International Environmental Law
Publication, 78 pages
Fuel to the Fire investigates the role of the fossil fuel industry in the development and promotion of geoengineering technologies. The report examines how geoengineering strategies like solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal depend on the continued use of fossil fuels.
Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement
By Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation & One Earth
Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement gives a comprehensive pathway for keeping the world below 2C or 1.5C without reliance on CCS or geoengineering. The One Earth Climate Model debunks the myth that CCUS, CDR, and other forms of geoengineering are necessary.