As poor countries are likely to be the ones most negatively affected by possible efforts to geoengineer as a means of mitigating the worst effects of anthropogenic climate change, they should have a say in global discussions on the matter, according to a new report from London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
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The report notes that developing countries for the most part remain unaware of the potential “unintended consequences” of geoengineering efforts on the global scale — mostly owing to the presence of more pressing matters, and often also the lack of “scientific capacity to engage on the topic.”
“Although most of the dialogue about geoengineering is taking place among researchers and NGOs, it’s likely to get more attention at the policy level as climate change intensifies,” commented Andrew Scott, an author of the new report, and also an energy researcher at ODI.
Reuters provides more: “Geoengineering proposals are increasingly being discussed as efforts to cut the world’s carbon emissions fall short of what is needed to hold global temperature rise to ‘well below’ 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, in line with the Paris Agreement to deal with climate change.
“The planet has already seen about 1° Celsius of warming, and is on a track to at least 3° unless carbon-cutting efforts become more ambitious, officials at the UN climate talks in Bonn said last week. But critics warn that poor countries — who might see lowered disaster risk from the use of geoengineering measures — also risk bearing the brunt of unintended consequences, such as shifts in global rainfall patterns.”
To use the possible mass-spraying of aerosols into the atmosphere as an example — such an action could possibly shift monsoon patterns, which could cause food security problems for some billions of people living in Asia.
“But research in the developing world into those effects is mainly limited to countries with strong science and technology capacity like India and China,” noted Scott.
In other words, nearby counties without as much wealth or scientific capital essentially don’t have a say on the matter. Granted, that will likely be how things work out in practice anyways, as what are China’s or India’s neighbors going to actually do if the countries in question begin geoengineering on the mass scale? Exchange nukes?