Geoengineering auf der Politischen Agenda 2017: WEF und White House

Hier sind zwei Gründe, warum sich die internationale Gemeinschaftz im Jahr 2017 vermehrt mit dem Thema Geoengineering befassen wird und muss:

Der Global Risks Report 2017 des Weltwirtschaftsforums in Davos (WEF) listet Geoengineering neben anderen Technologien wie künstliche Intelligenz, Synthetische Biologie, 3D-Drucker und Nanotechnologie als eine von 12 Schlüsseltechnologien unter der Überschrift „technology that needs better governance“. Interessant ist da eine Fußnote, in der es um die Risikobewertung der verschiedenen Technologien geht. Darin heißt es:

„It is noteworthy that no single technology was, on average, assessed to present negative consequences at a higher likelihood than its benefits. The technology with the lowest net benefits in this regard was Geoengineering, with the fourth highest assessment of negative consequences overall and the lowest assessment of benefits.“

Der zweite Grund ist, dass erstmals ein umfassandes Dokument aus dem Weißen Haus die Erforschung von Geoengineering-Technologien zur Bekämpfung des Klimawandels in seine Empfehlungen aufgenommen hat. Der National Global Change Research Plan 2012-2021: A Triennial Update (January 2017) wurde diese Woche dem Kongress vorgelegt. Darin heißt es:

„USGCRP’s research program provides insight into the science needed to understand potential pathways for climate intervention or geoengineering and the possible consequences of any such measures, both intended and unintended. The SGCR considered since the 2012–2021 Strategic Plan how to develop its research stance with respect to climate intervention. The Program’s evolution is informed by the National Research Council reports Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration and Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth**, which noted the importance of laying a science and governance foundation that would allow potential future experiments to be conducted in ethical and responsible ways. They highlighted a role for USGCRP in coordinating research, particularly in the area of carbon removal and storage. While climate intervention cannot substitute for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the changes in climate that occur, some types of deliberative climate intervention may someday be one of a portfolio of tools used in managing climate change. The need to understand the possibilities, limitations, and potential side effects of climate intervention becomes all the more apparent with the recognition that other countries or the private sector may decide to conduct intervention experiments independently from the U.S. Government.

An immediate next step for USGCRP is defining the scale and scope of observations and modeling capabilities necessary to detect the signal of any future field experiments above baseline conditions and natural variability, and to evaluate their consequences. Such research would also define the smallest scale of intervention experiments that would yield meaningful scientific understanding. USGCRP will use its scientific understanding of natural processes, such as natural carbon sequestration or dynamics of atmospheric particulates, to inform potential pathways for carbon removal and albedo modification. Approaches would include evaluating the capabilities of current models to represent any proposed climate intervention measure and to evaluate its implications over time, using natural events as intervention analogs (such as volcanic eruptions that inject large particulate loads into the atmosphere), and laboratory experiments.“

[** Hier eine Stellungnahme von ETC Group Direktor Pat Mooney zum Bericht der US National Academy of Sciences.]

Bezogen auf Ziel 1.1. „Earth System Understanding“ heißt es konkret beim Thema „Clouds, Aerosols, and Aerosol-Cloud Interactions“:

„Research in this domain also provides insights relevant to proposed climate intervention pathways, such as solar radiation management (i.e., potential future efforts to reduce the amount of solar radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface, or the amount that the Earth’s surface reflects).“

Und beim Ziel 1.2 „Science for Adaptation and Mitigation“ wiederum steht unter „Carbon Cycle Research“:

„These approaches are also used to investigate natural and human-assisted sequestration of carbon in biological (e.g., soil, forests, coastal wetlands) reservoirs, and the resultant capacity for long-term carbon removal from the atmosphere.“

Wie sich eine US-Regierung unter Donald Trump dieser Empfehlungen bedienen wird, mag man sich gar nicht vorstellen…