For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

Group Calls For Rejection of Geoengineering to Address Climate Change

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

Friends of the Earth Africa and Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) have called on African governments to reject all forms of Geoengineering Technology to protect local communities against the adverse effects at COP 28.

Speaking on the issue at the ERA head office recently, Climate Justice Campaigner with ERA/FoEN and Friends of the Earth Africa, Maimoni Mariere Ubrei-Joe stated that Climate Geoengineering is one of the many false solutions that have been proposed to counter the path to a just energy transition. Geoengineering refers to large-scale schemes for intervention in the earth’s oceans, soils and atmosphere, with the aim of providing a temporary reduction of the effects of climate change.

According to Ubrei-Joe, some of geoengineering techniques such as Solar Radiation Management (SRM) seeks to alter the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface and could lead to regional climate changes.

Solar Radiation Management is the altering of the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface, which could lead to regional climate changes. This could result in shifts in precipitation patterns, temperature extremes, and changes in agricultural productivity, which could negatively impact local communities that rely on stable and predictable climate conditions for farming, water availability, and livelihoods. Modifying cloud patterns or introducing reflective particles into the atmosphere may have unintended consequences for local ecosystems. Changes in sunlight and temperature regimes could disrupt ecosystems, leading to shifts in species composition, altered migration patterns, and potential biodiversity loss.”

Ubrei-Joe further revealed that Carbon Dioxide Removal which refers to a Large-scale implementation of techniques such as afforestation or creating artificial forests, which may require a large expanse of land areas, could create the struggle for land resources by local communities. 

“This has the potential of displacing local communities and forcing them to encroach on indigenous territories, or disrupting traditional land uses and livelihoods. Some CDR methods, like ocean fertilization, may carry environmental risks. For instance, seeding the ocean with iron pellets to stimulate plankton blooms can alter marine ecosystems, affecting fish populations and potentially disrupting local fishing industries or coastal communities dependent on marine resources.

Earth Radiation Management is the thinning of cirrus clouds to allow more heat to escape into space. Creating changes to cloud cover and atmospheric dynamics could lead to volatile shifts in local weather patterns, making it challenging for communities especially farmers to adjust and plan for changes effectively. Geoengineering projects are often global or national in scale, and decision-making processes may not adequately involve or consider the perspectives and concerns of local communities, which is a process that undermines social equity and justice, potentially exacerbating existing social and economic inequalities.

Also speaking on the issue, the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Chima Williams highlighted some of the human rights impacts of Geoengineering, explaining that Solar Radiation management techniques such as spraying sulphates into the stratosphere or modifying clouds, may have unintended infringement on the right to health and the right to water, while Carbon Dioxide Removal methods involving large-scale carbon capture in the atmosphere, also raise human rights concerns in relation to food, livelihood, land and indigenous rights.

He further added that the Earth Radiation management technique is an infringement on the right to self-determination and the right to an adequate standard of living.

Williams called for the reduction of the emissions of greenhouse gases, pointing out that it is the safest way to rescue the world from the negative impacts of climate change which is the goal that every sector must pursue without compromise.

“A search on efforts being made to address the climate crisis will produce shocking results that show that all sectors including the most polluting sectors also claim to be involved in fighting climate change. This deception is targeted at dodging the real solutions which essentially is about cutting emissions to zero by leaving fossil fuel in the soil, coal in the ground and tar sand in the hole and adopting renewable energy sources.”

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