UN Discuss Injecting Aerosols into Earth’s Stratosphere to ‘Block the Sun’


United Nations discuss injecting aerosols into Earth's stratosphere

 The geoengineering resolution is set to be discussed at the United Nations Environment Assembly next week, when it meets in Nairobi.

Nature.com reports: The body is poised to debate a resolution on geoengineering approaches that could be used to fight climate change, elevating a controversial issue to its highest political forum yet.

 A proposal backed by Switzerland and ten other countries would require the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to prepare a comprehensive assessment of geoengineering, including methods to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere or inject aerosols into the stratosphere to block sunlight. Due by August 2020, the report would examine the underlying science and technology, and how to govern research and wide-scale use.

 Preliminary discussions began this week and a final decision by government ministers could come at the end of the UN assembly’s meeting, which runs from 11–15 March.

“In principle, it’s a big deal,” says Ted Parson, who studies environmental law and policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “This could be the start of the serious international deliberation on governance that has been needed for years.”

Weighing in

 Other UN bodies have considered geoengineering in the context of specific treaties. In 2010, the 196 member countries of the Convention on Biological Diversity called for a moratorium on geoengineering technologies, citing gaps in scientific knowledge and potential environmental, social and economic risks; the non-binding decision includes exceptions for research. And in a series of decisions over the last decade, parties to the London Convention on ocean pollution have banned the commercial use of ocean fertilization — in which iron is released into the ocean to spur the growth of CO2-absorbing algae — while laying out criteria for research.

 But concerns about the global nature of solar geoengineering — the injection of reflective particles into the stratosphere — in particular have spurred efforts to give the governance debate more prominence within the UN. A fleet of high-flying aircraft could pump enough sulfur into the stratosphere to offset around 1.5 °C of warming for as little as US$1 billion–$10 billion annually, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

 The relatively cheap price has spurred concerns that individual countries could eventually pursue such a programme on their own, with global consequences. Janos Pasztor, who heads the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative, an advocacy group in New York City, has spent more than two years discussing the need for geoengineering governance with high-level government officials around the world. He says that a UNEP assessment would command attention and help to bring governments up to speed.

“There has been no global assessment of geoengineering technologies, and this is very much needed,” says Pasztor, who advised former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on climate change.

 But other scientists question whether a UNEP assessment of geoengineering would add anything to the global debate, given that organizations such as the UK Royal Society and the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have already produced thorough analyses. And although a UNEP assessment could spur conversations within governments, the question is whether those conversations will advance or hinder research, says Steve Rayner, director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at the University of Oxford, UK.

“Ten years ago, when we wrote the Royal Society report, we thought that the governance challenge of geoengineering was stopping Dr Strangelove,” Rayner says. “A decade on I am inclined to think it is kick-starting Mr Scrooge.”

Looking ahead

 The outlook for the coming geoengineering debate at the UN Environment Assembly is unclear. The resolution faces opposition from countries such as the United States and Saudi Arabia, as well as scepticism from non-governmental groups that oppose geoengineering.

“The technologies continue to be speculative, so we don’t really need a new study,” says Silvia Ribeiro, Latin America director for the ETC Group, an environmental advocacy group in Val-David, Canada. She says that the UNEP resolution discounts work done under the London Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity, which have already produced similar assessments of science and governance issues related to geoengineering.

 If the UN Environment Assembly approves the resolution, Ribeiro is pushing for changes that would require the participation of representatives from civil society, indigenous tribes and others in an ad-hoc advisory committee that would advise the UNEP on the assessment.

 Pasztor’s organization has taken a neutral stance on the resolution itself, and he says that the outcome remains unclear. Regardless, he says the debate itself represents a success. “Our goal is to have governments come together and talk,” Pasztor says. “We have catalysed the process, and now it’s a question for governments.”

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Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday released 84 pages of documents showing Obama’s State Department was central to pushing the ‘Trump-Russia’ hoax shortly before the 2016 election.

The email exchange between then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer, a very close associate to Christopher Steele, show them discussing a ‘face-to-face’ meeting in New York on a ‘Russian matter’ in September of 2016.

Via Judicial Watch:

Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation today released 84 pages of documents, including a September 2016 email exchange between then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer, a close associate of dossier author Christopher Steele, discussing a “face-to-face” meeting on a “Russian matter.”

(In June 2016 Nuland permitted a meeting between Steele and the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome. Nuland told CBS News that the State Department knew about the Steele dossier by July 2016.)

According to an op-ed Winer wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, also in September 2016, “Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the “dossier… I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.”

A September 17, 2016, email exchange between Nuland and Winer – that was classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy – discusses the political situation in Libya, but also brings up a “Russian matter:”

From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 12:40:00 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update

Would like to discuss this and a Russian matter.

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:31 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

In ny face to face?

From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 1:56:05 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update

Yes that was [sic] be good.

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:58 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

Good. I’ll reach out when im there Sunday. [Redacted]

If Victoria Nuland’s name sounds familiar it’s because she has been on Judicial Watch’s radar for a long time and in many of TGP’s previous reports.

In December 2018, Judicial Watch released documents revealing that Victoria Nuland was involved in the Obama State Department’s urgent gathering of classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office.

In a related lawsuit, Judicial Watch is suing the State Department communications between Ambassador Nuland and employees of Fusion GPS, as well as top ranking Department of Justice, FBI, and State Department officials.

“The Obama State Department was central to the effort to target President Trump with the Russia smear,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These new emails further show that senior Obama State Department advanced the Russiagate hoax just before the 2016 presidential election.”

Tom Fitton   @TomFitton
 

BREAKING: Obama State Department was central to the effort to target President @RealDonaldTrump with the Russia smear. New emails show how senior Obama State Department advanced the Russiagate hoax just before the 2016 presidential election.

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