Initiative sponsored by Carnegie Council and led by UN climate veteran aims to break silence around geo-technologies and explore their potential

(Pic: Pixabay)

(Pic: Pixabay)

Ban Ki-moon’s former climate advisor is to lead a project to develop rules for geoengineering, amid fears current efforts to slow global warming are insufficient.

Janos Pasztor, who served with Ban at the UN 2015-2016 will launch the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance initiative (C2G2) in New York on 16 January.

Speaking from Nairobi where he was discussing his plans with officials at the UN Environment Programme, Pasztor said all options to tackle climate change should be discussed.

“As much as the Paris [climate] Agreement was a major step forward we know that even if all countries meet their targets we’re still looking at warming of 3C,” he tells Climate Home.

“To assume it will be 100% [successful] is not realistic, and we are saying to reach these ambitious goals we need to think seriously on what else to add in to massive mitigation efforts.

“Some scientists are saying this is not enough, and we should consider solar radiation management to make sure we don’t go beyond 1.5C to 2C. These are plausible scenarios and we need to think seriously about all options.”

UN to extend freeze on climate change geoengineering: https://t.co/XcVN2IkYOF pic.twitter.com/tpAMK7MMDm

— Climate Home (@ClimateHome) December 7, 2016

The term geoengineering covers a wide range of technologies and proposals. These include spraying fine particles into the atmosphere to filter rays from the sun and fertilising oceans with iron filings to promote growth of carbon-sucking organisms.

Less exciting but currently more realistic are vast tree planting schemes and capturing emissions from burning bioenergy crops (BECCS).

The problem, Pasztor explains, is that many of these technologies have potentially planet-altering consequences, and there are few rules in place to govern basic experiments.

“There is hardly anything,” he says, pointing to the London Protocol as an example. It regulates the dumping of “materials” into the ocean for geoengineering…