Nearly 160 civil society, indigenous and environmental organizations signed a letter in 2011 urging caution and calling on the IPCC not to legitimize geoengineering.
Latin America director of the technology watchdog ETC Group Silvia Ribeiro said: “We have been warning that a few geoengineering advocates have been trying to hijack the IPCC for their agenda. We are now seeing a deliberate attempt to exploit the high profile and credibility of this body in order to create more mainstream support for extreme climate engineering. The public and policymakers need to be on guard against being steamrollered into accepting dangerous and immoral interventions with our planet, which are a false solution to climate change. Geoengineering should be banned by the UN general assembly.”
Matthew Watson, a senior lecturer at the University of Bristol’s Earth sciences department and a member of the team behind the canceled balloon project, said: “In general ought the IPCC to be thinking about geoengineering? Yes. But do I want to see unilateralism or regionalism affect the debate? Certainly not. The people who don’t like geoengineering will suggest the IPCC is a method for normalizing it.”
“The IPCC has to be very careful about how it handles this [geoengineering] because it is clearly a very significant output that people are very mindful of,” he added.
While the IPCC is intended to be a scientific advisory panel, government delegates have been reviewing the summary report and make final decisions about it in Stockholm at the end of the month.
Sweden, Norway and Germany expressed more skepticism about geoengineering and asked that the report underline its potential dangers.
“The information on geoengineering options is too optimistic as it does not appropriately reflect the current lack of knowledge or the high risks associated with such methods,” the German government said.
Geoengineering is expected to play a much larger role in the next IPCC reports coming out next year. Observers were surprised that it had turned up in this first major report — meant to assess physical science rather than mitigation strategies.