REPORT: The Implications of Geo-Engineering Schemes for New Zealand Conference 2011
Scoop, 29 March 2011
By Jeremy Morrison
On the 8th of March 2011 the Royal Society of New Zealand hosted a conference and workshop to discuss the scientific, technological and geopolitical aspects of Geo-Engineering schemes and their implications for New Zealand.
Geo-engineering has been described as a DELIBERATE LARGE SCALE INTERVENTION IN THE EARTH'S SYSTEMS.
The featured speakers were:
Professor Philip Boyd of NIWA
Dr Mike Harvey also from NIWA
Professor Jim Jones from Massey University
Dr Cliff Law
Professor Lionel Carter of Victoria University Wellington
The conference was based around the idea that the planet is rapidly warming due to increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere and “man-made Global Warming, which will result in catastrophe for the whole world, and what the possible and preferable solutions may be to remedy this problem.
There is a fierce debate about the validity of claims surrounding anthropogenic global warming and the role of CO2 in climate change
The Geo-engineering programmes that were discussed were:
Space sun shades
Stratospheric aerosol spraying
Painting roofs white
Unfortunately I missed the first presentation which was focused on Aerosol Spraying in the atmosphere, but this subject came up many more times throughout the conference.
Following the presentations on the various geo-engineering schemes the conference attendees were asked to use the 1000Minds programme to rank the various schemes in order to find which geo-engineering scheme would be the best to use should it become necessary.
The ranking programme was loaded with options to vote up or down in order of priority to each of the individual attendees in order to specify an overall preferred geo-engineering scheme.
The ranking programme covered things such as costs, benefits, risks, the probable speed and rate of change in the climate after deployment of the chosen scheme, the rapidity of an emergency stop to any scheme, safety and system complexity and safety verification. The attendees were asked to rank each of these things from 1-7 with 1 being most important and 7 being of least concern when implementing any geo-engineering scheme.
The results of the ranking software exercise showed that 61.1% of the attendees viewed Stratospheric Aerosol Spraying as the first choice of geo-engineering schemes. The overall belief amongst them was that this would be the safest, cheapest and easiest scheme to implement. One glaring omission was made in the ranking criteria and that was the possible impacts on human health as a result of massive scale aerosol spraying.
This is obviously not a concern to the geo-engineers. In fact this was not mentioned or discussed once throughout the conference. I noted also a couple of snide remarks about environmentalists and the problems they will pose to the implementation of any large scale geo-engineering scheme. There was some discussion that these schemes may very well have disastrous consequences that are not yet known for various ecosystems.
Other topics of discussion during the day:
- How geo-engineering has moved from the “lunatic fringe” into a mainstream science
- The lack of international law with regard to geo-engineering, how do we manage geo-engineering technologies in the face of scientific uncertainty surrounding them
- Who makes the decision to geo-engineer (individual states, collective decision, or expert decision?)
- Are there appropriate institutions at national and international level to enable us to achieve regulation and should there be global moratoriums on geo-engineering.
- Should corporations be permitted to profit from geo-engineering schemes?
- Can abuse of the technologies be prevented such as climate modification for HOSTILE/MILITARY PURPOSES?
- Should geo-engineering be included in treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol? (There was a consensus that geo-engineering must be included in all future climate change meetings and treaties and that it makes no sense to keep the two separate)
- Should we form an International Geo-engineering Authority?
It was mentioned that there are currently no specific laws preventing use of weather modification technologies and that there are only limited treaties focusing on weather modification as a weapon. There was also a presentation on how difficult it will be to deploy geo-engineering schemes in and around New Zealand due to terrain, wind patterns and ocean currents.
Of great interest were the Stratospheric Aerosol Spraying discussions. I was amused to learn that our New Zealand geo-engineers are focussed only on spraying silver iodide to whiten the clouds or sulphur particles to block sunlight and cool the planet. They are clearly out of touch with their American counterparts when it comes to what type of particle to spray.
In February of 2010 the American Association for the Advancement of Science held a conference in San Diego California in which geo-engineering (Also being pushed there by THE ROYAL SOCIETY) was heavily discussed. The American scientists also heavily favoured stratospheric aerosol spraying as the first choice geo-engineering scheme, however the particulate they want to spray into the atmosphere in megaton amounts is ALUMINIUM.
I did not hear aluminium mentioned once throughout the entire conference here in New Zealand. The American scientists favour aluminium because it has 4 times the volumetric rate and 16 times less the coagulation rate of other particles such as sulphur and it is very cheap.
The discussion of Aluminium as a geo-engineering tool by the American scientists caused a global reaction through the “alternative media” because people worldwide have been observing a sharp increase in heavy persistent contrails in the last decade dubbed “chemtrails” in their skies which have coincided with huge leaps in metal contamination of snow and rainfall with aluminium and barium. In parts of the USA soil, water and snow samples have been tested and found to contain tens of thousands of times the safe levels of aluminium and barium. The PH level of the soils in these areas has escalated 10-12 times from its normal levels as a result of this heavy contamination.
Here in New Zealand elevated levels of aluminium and barium have been found in rainwater from Whangarei and Kaikoura and polymer fibres that have fallen in large volumes to the ground below some of these thick persistent contrails over the Marlborough region have been laboratory tested and found to be coated in high levels of aluminium oxide and barium.
This has raised the question as to whether stratospheric aerosol programmes have already been deployed or are being tested in some parts of the world. There was no mention at the New Zealand conference of any such testing or deployment of this technology.
It was clear to me by the end of the conference that scientists, policy and law makers here in New Zealand are very serious about testing and implementing geo-engineering technologies and creating laws and policies to govern them but there appeared to be absolutely no knowledge of, or discussion of current deployment or testing of stratospheric aerosol spraying.
Here is an incomplete list of names of persons who attended the New Zealand Geo-engineering conference.
Tara Ross Watt
Copyright (c) Scoop Media