(L’Huffington Post USA cita la nostra intervista a Vandana Shiva)
Di NoGeoingegneria


Sull’Huffington Post USA (la versione italiana è del gruppo L’Espresso ed è diretta da Lucia Annunziata) è stato appena pubblicato un articolo di Rachel Smolker (1) intitolato – Geoingegneria, il cielo non è “normale”- in cui si esprimono fortissime perplessità sulle misure geoingegneristiche finalizzate a mitigare i “cambiamenti climatici”. La Johns Hopkins University e la American University (Washington DC ) hanno recentemente lanciato un nuovo Climate Geoengineering Consortium con l’obiettivo di incrementare il livello di impegno sulla geoingegneria, a porte rigorosamente “chiuse”. La Smolker era tra gli invitati, assieme ad una lista di rappresentanti di enti di prim’ordine (con la curiosissima esclusione dell’ETC Group, che più volte si è dichiarata ostile a tali misure con la campagna “Hands Off Mother Earth“) (2). La Smolker riferisce di un consenso unanime nell’attribuire al “Riscaldamento Globale” la causa dei catastrofici eventi climatici degli ultimi anni, come di un consenso all’attuazione del famoso “Piano B” (disperdere particelle di solfato nella stratosfera, versare limatura di ferro nell’oceano etc. etc.). Il tenore dell’intero incontro è quello di ritenere inevitabili tali misure e l’intenzione dichiarata sarebbe quella di preparare adeguatamente l’opinione pubblica come se non esistesse la possibilità stessa di discutere tali decisioni, anche attraverso la scelta dei “governi adatti”a tale scopo. La Smolker allora riflette, proprio a partire dalla nostra intervista a Vandana Shiva, sulla necessità di smettere di focalizzare l’attenzione su dettagli specifici riguardanti le varie tecniche puntando invece l’attenzione sul “quadro globale” di una manipolazione intensiva e non regolata dell’intero pianeta Terra, e sulla necessità di interrompere con ogni mezzo possibile il processo di “normalizzazione” attualmente in atto sull’intera tematica riguardante la Geoingegneria. Diceva infatti la Shiva (nel passo della nostra intervista riportato sull’Huffington Post): “Ognuno di questi problemi ha un particolare aspetto che lo differenzia, ma penso che questi particolari aspetti siano molto piccoli comparati al danno d’insieme e alla totale irresponsabilità. Per me, il problema principale è: come osano fare questo? Come osano? Questa deve essere la reazione dell’umanità. Poi il resto delle piccole cose, di come le nano-particelle possono far male oppure della troppa concentrazione di solfuro nell’atmosfera. Questi sono specifici dettagli, però questo è un problema di civiltà. E nei problemi di civiltà, non si guarda ai dettagli minuscoli. Bisogna guardare al quadro generale!”.

E’ interessante notare come l’autrice, nel titolo, usi il verbo al presente e non al futuro, come se volesse far capire di più, o alludere ad altro, rispetto a quanto scritto nell’articolo.

Le reazioni all’articolo sono state immediate: http://dcgeoconsortium.org/2013/12/15/simon-nicholson-why-civil-society-engagement-with-geoengineering-is-crucial/ “



(1) Rachel Smolker è co-direttrice di Biofuelwatch , e uno degli organizzatori di Energy Justice Network . Ha studiato, scritto e organizzato studi sull’impatto dei biocarburanti, bioenergia e biochar, sull’uso del suolo, delle foreste, sulla biodiversità, il cibo, le persone e il clima. Collabora con varie coalizioni nazionali ed internazionali sulla mobilitazione per la giustizia climatica, e contro “false soluzioni”. Ha un dottorato in ricerca di ecologia e biologia presso l’Università del Michigan. Ha lavorato in precedenza come biologa.

(2) Elenco degli enti invitati:

Civil Society Representation

Biofuel Watch

Bipartisan Policy Center

Center for the Advancement of Steady State Economics

Climate Institute

Climate Progress

Climate Reality Project

Ecologic Institute

Environmental Defense Fund

Food and Water Watch

Greenpeace America

Hudson Institute

Oxfam America

Oxfam International

Sierra Club

Stimson Center

U.S. Climate Action Network

Woodrow Wilson Center

Other organizations represented included:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

U.S. Department of State

Staff of the U.S. Senate

The Huffington Post

Climate Wire

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers

American University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Maryland




Rachel Smolker

Co-director, Biofuelwatch

Geoengineering The Sky is Not ‘Normal’

In the wake of the climate negotiations in Warsaw, the consensus appears near universal: the international process is not going to deliver, and it is up to countries and communities to go it on their own. For some, that means taking serious and dramatic steps to reduce emissions. For others, like Bangladesh or the island nations, it means finding a way to survive the consequences of climate change with little help from the international community. For all of us, it means facing a future of weather extremes, crop failures and potential disruption of virtually everything on an unprecedented scale. For advocates of climate geoengineering, the failure of global agreement is wind in their sails: “More reasons” why drastic measures such as spewing sulphate particles into the stratosphere, or “fertilizing” the ocean with iron filings, or burning and burying billions of tons biomass (as biochar or “bioenergy with carbon capture and storage”) should be seriously considered and research should be gloriously funded.

Of course the converse argument is that if global agreement on addressing climate change cannot be achieved, how can we possibly expect any global consensus on, or governance of “technomanagement” of the atmosphere where the risks of serious negative consequences, for some people in some places, at least, are so grave?

This worries me profoundly, and apparently others as well. It is why faculty from Johns Hopkins University and American University recently launched a new, Washington DC based “Climate Geoengineering Consortium“.The stated goal of the consortium, perhaps laudable, is “to generate space for perspectives from civil society actors and the wider public, to produce a heightened level of engagement around issues of justice, agency, and inclusion.” Perhaps I am too skeptical, but “generating space” for a debate seems a bit vague. This new consortium recently organized a meeting, slated as a “closed door” meeting of civil society representatives. Closed meetings for civil society always make me a little nervous. Especially when the topic is planetary scale interference with the global commons — the life support systems of our planet!

I’m not sure really how I ended up on the list of invitees, but I decided to attend. The meeting was held in a stark space at Johns Hopkins, with the requisite sleek furnishings and snack plates wrapped securely in sparkling plastic. Nobody in attendance was a shade darker than a bowl of oatmeal, all were dressed in drab, illuminated by glowing computers, tablets and smartphones. Represented were staff from Johns Hopkins and American University, as well as the conservative American Enterprise Institute (Lee Lane), Bipartisan Policy Center, NASA (Mike McCracken), the renowned blogger, Joe Romm, and long time (but now retired) Friends of the Earth director, Brent Blackwelder. There were representatives from U.S. Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, Food and Water Watch and various others. Certainly more diverse than some meetings, but even I could not avoid the sensation of being sort of a token.

Strikingly absent from the event was the single organization (ETC Group) that has been for years already working to raise awareness of climate geoengineering proposals among civil society via their “Hands Off Mother Earth” campaign, and also via their dogged and successful effort to promote a defacto ban on geoengineering through the Convention on Biodiversity. No other NGO has devoted anywhere near the attention to the issue, and yet oddly they were not behind these closed doors.

As expected, the opening remarks focused on reconfirming for us a sense of desperation, as we face global warming already on track to utter catastrophe. No disagreement there. We were told that climate scientists are running scared and so they are increasingly, even if reluctantly, turning to a “Plan B” for the planet. Plan B of course, being none other than, say, dumping sulphate particles into the stratosphere, pouring iron filings into the ocean, or perhaps charring and burying vast quantities of “biomass”.

After a brief review of the various technologies proposed and their potential to make things worse rather than better, one member of the audience asked: “If there is no silver lining to any of these approaches, then why are we even holding this conversation?” The organizers and most in the audience giggled, made jokes about adjourning the meeting right off the bat and heading home, and then settled in to discuss what were apparently more realistic questions, such as, “how do we get civil society more engaged in the discussion of geoengineering?” and “what form of governance would be most appropriate?”

But hang on! We are being shepherded into believing that it’s too late to seriously consider dropping consideration of geoengineering altogether? We are to assume that “the train has already left the station” and we now are obliged to engage in serious discussions about such outrageous proposals — or else just quietly disengage and accept the consequences.

Whose ideas are these anyway? Why are we being railroaded into accepting them as feasible and perhaps even desirable options? Are we somehow required to entertain and engage every nutty technofix idea that someone happens to dream up? If so, there are plenty out there and we could keep busy for all eternity if that is the case, meanwhile diverting our attention from implementing the straightforward, proven, low tech, low risk approaches to saving the planet. (Like halting deforestation, protecting biodiversity, putting a halt to overconsumption, ending the mining, fracking, clear cutting and burning of the planet, and providing real support to those coping with impacts of climate change, for example.)

This insistence that we engage in debate over climate geoengineering is part of the process of “normalization” that seems orchestrated — perhaps deliberately — with the intent of habituating people to the whole idea of climate geoengineering as an option.

It does in fact seem that we have commenced an out-of-control and ill-considered flight down the slippery slope, with a near dizzying onslaught of events, meetings, reports and debates on the topic where the more fundamental question is avoided and we are invited graciously to step right up and… go get lost in the weeds.

In a recent interview, Vandana Shiva, when asked her opinion on one proposed approach to climate geoengineering-spraying nanoparticles into the stratosphere, responded: “Each of these issues [geoengineering technologies] has a particular aspect that’s different but I think those particular aspects are very small compared to the overall damage and the overall irresponsibility. For me the first issue is, how dare you do this. How dare you. That has to be humanity’s response. Then the rest of the little things of how nano particles can harm or having too much sulphur in the atmosphere can harm — those are specific details but this is a civilizational issue. And in civilizational issues you don’t look at the tiny details as the debate. You have to look at the big picture!”

I personally have spent quite a lot of time in the weeds, critiquing the “particular aspects” of various technologies proposed for geoengineering (see for example our Biofuelwatch reports on biochar and bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration). But I must agree with Vandana. To a very large degree we only assist to “normalize” the issue by focusing on critique of the particular details.

What is clear is that climate geoengineering is opening new doors for many career seekers. From scientists with superman complexes, eager to be seen as doing “cutting edge” work with big important global consequence, to various environmental and other NGO careerists seeking grant support, status and a place at the table.

Moving forward, it will be necessary to keep our feet on the ground and adroitly steer clear of being led about by our collective nose on this issue. We will have to meticulously examine underlying assumptions when we sit down to discuss climate and geoengineering, and we will need to bolster immunity to the process of “normalization” because there is certainly nothing “normal” about geoengineering Earth’s climate!




IMPORTANTE!: Il materiale presente in questo sito (ove non ci siano avvisi particolari) può essere copiato e redistribuito, purché venga citata la fonte. NoGeoingegneria non si assume alcuna responsabilità per gli articoli e il materiale ripubblicato.Questo blog non rappresenta una testata giornalistica in quanto viene aggiornato senza alcuna periodicità. Non può pertanto considerarsi un prodotto editoriale ai sensi della legge n. 62 del 7.03.2001.