Geoengineering

Please see below for a list of relevant articles and publications by Biofuelwatch.

Background:

Biofuelwatch opposes the use of climate geoengineering. Geoengineering technologies are too risky and ill conceived and likely to make matters worse rather than better, especially given our poor understanding of earth and atmospheric processes.

Furthermore, we do not believe the use of geoengineering technologies can be governed effectively. The potential for “weaponization” is already evident and there is serious risk that deployment could lead to escalating conflicts. Currently, decision making, debate, research and development are dangerously concentrated in the hands of a small number of wealthy, white, northern men from industrialized countries. Many come from backgrounds in weapons development (Lawrence Livermore Laboratory), and/or conservative think tanks engaged in climate denial efforts and fossil fuel industry promotion. Resorting to climate geoengineering could divert and distract urgently needed efforts to reduce emissions and make the deep society-wide changes that are essential if we are to minimize the projected impacts of global warming.

Biofuelwatch has worked especially to provide critique of those proposed technologies that would rely on large scale “biosequestration”. Among those approaches are bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), biochar, biomass burial, large scale afforestation and reforestation, ocean afforestation and others. Biosequestration (CDR, or carbon dioxide removal) approaches are sometimes promoted as more “benign” or “soft” than other proposed technologies such as sulphate particle injection (SRM, or solar radiation management)

But they are not at all benign or soft. All would require very large scale supplies of biomass and thus have very dramatic impacts on already degraded ecosystems and biodiversity. Also there is remarkably little basis for assuming they will actually work to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions.

Biofuelwatch Reports and Briefings

Last ditch climate option or wishful thinking? Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage, December 2015

Smoke and Mirrors: Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), November 2015

Biochar’s Unproven Claims – Factsheet, last updated July 2013

Geo-engineering: A new intervention in climate and earth systems?, Joint Briefing by Biofuelwatch and Econexus, 12th March 2013

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage: Climate Savior or Dangerous Hype?, Report, 5th October 2012

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS): Updated Biofuelwatch briefing for Rio+20 (June 2012)

Biochar Fund Trials in Cameroon: Hype and Unfulfilled Promises, report by researcher Benoit Anthony Ndameu and Biofuelwatch, 29th November 2011 [Note that we are listing this report on this page because biochar is being promoted for geoengineering and the report illustrates the real experiences of small farmers with a project aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of biochar, including for the carbon markets.  We are not implying that Biochar Fund’s project in itself  contsitutes geoengineering.]

A Critical Review of Biochar Science and Policy, Report, last updsted 27th November 2011

Biofuelwatch response to WorldStove’s critique of our report Biochar: A Critical Review of Science and Policy, 21st September 2011

First medium-term, peer-reviewed biochar field trial: What happened to all the carbon?, briefing, 1st June 2011

Biochar Land Grabbing: The Impacts on Africa, briefing by the African Biodiversity Network, Biofuelwatch and the Gaia Foundation, last updated 1st December 2010

Tar Sands With Biochar?, factsheet, 16th November 2010

Biofuelwatch Articles

The phantom of the COP21 Opera: Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage, Oliver Munnion, Global Forest Coalition, 8th December 2015

Techno-Optimism and Bad Science in Paris: The Problem With Carbon Capture and Storage, Almuth Ernsting, Truthout, 3rd December 2015

Climate Technofix: Weaving Carbon into Gold and Other Myths of “negative emissions”, Rachel Smolker, Independent Science News, 1st December 2015

Blazing a trail of deception: the White Rose Project and “negative emissions” technologies, Oliver Munnion, 15th July 2015

Should we experiment with climate geoengineering, Rachel Smolker and Almuth Ernsting, 23rd February 2015

From the Concorde to Climate Sci-Fi Solutions, Almuth Ernsting Truth Out, 29th January 2015

‘Uncertainties’ is an understatement, when it comes to BECCS, Rachel Smolker, 10th November 2014

Intergovernmental Climate Report Leaves Hopes Hanging on Fantasy Technology, Rachel Smolker, Truth Out, 22nd April 2014

What Is Climate Geoengineering? Word Games in the Ongoing Debates Over a Definition, Truthout, Rachel Smolker, 12th February 2014

Where’s The Lorax When We Need Him?, Rachel Smolker, Huffington Post, 19th December 2013

Geoengeering The Sky Is Not “Normal”, Rachel Smolker, Huffington Post, 6th December 2013

Typhoons, Climate Negotiations and a Reality Check, Rachel Smolker, Huffington Post, 11th November 2013

Biochar: Black Gold or Just Another Snake Oil Scheme?, Rachel Smolker Earth Island Journal, 18th September 2013

Science or Propaganda: New hype about Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage, Almuth Ernsting, Hands Off Mother Earth blog, 9th August 2013

Biochar: cause for concern?, Almuth Ernsting, The Ecologist Blog, 23rd July 2013

Tree plantations and bioenergy with carbon capture: far from “safe” geoengineering, Almuth Ernsting, Hands Off Mother Earth blog, 11th June 2013

Climate Crisis: Radical action or a new battlefront in the war on nature?, Almuth Ernsting and Rachel Smolker, Common Dreams, 28th May

Geoengineering is a Dangerous Solution to Climate Change, Rachel Smolker, Huffington Post, 22nd March 2013

Agrofuels and Biochar, Almuth Ernsting, article for the Climate Change Conference 2010 at the University of Toronto, 31st August 2010

Charcoal Ain’t Gonna Cool The Planet, Rachel Smolker, Common Dreams, 8th June 2010

Risks posed by the WECHAR (Water efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration) Bill, followed by Separate Statement by three Scientists about Salt Cedars and the WECHAR Bill, Factsheet, 30th March 2010

We Can’t Technofix Our Way to a Sustainable Future, Rachel Smolker, Common Dreams, 23rd March 2010

Chapter 5, Agriculture and Climate Change: Real Problems, False Solutions, Report published by NOAH (Friends of the Earth Denmark), Grupo de Reflexion Rural, Econexus and Biofuelwatch

Biochar: Can Charcoal Really Stop Global Warming?, Almuth Ernsting, The Ecologist, 30th June 2009

Climate Geo-engineering with ‘Carbon Negative’ Bioenergy, Report, 22nd December 2008

Biofuelwatch Consultation Responses:

Response to consultation by the Convention on Biological Diversity: “Update on climate geoengineering in relation to the Convention on Biological Diversity potential impacts and regulatory framework”, August 2015