Geo-Engineering: Proposals for international governance

atmosphere of the EarthClick to enlarge
Interventions in the complex structure of the atmosphere can have incalculable consequences.
Source: Kobes / Fotolia.com

A number of schemes have been developed in recent years to combat global warming through intervention into the climate system. What these geo-engineering measures have in common is the risks they harbour for man and the environment which can have an impact worldwide and should therefore be subject to global governance. A study done on behalf of the UBA presents appropriate proposals.

Fertilization of the oceans to promote the growth of CO2-binding algae has so far been the only geo-engineering measure which is subject to internationally binding governance. According to the precautionary principle, however, all geo-engineering activities which bear transnational risks should be banned worldwide. This includes, for example, the spread of sulphur compounds in the stratosphere to block out sunlight. Exceptions should only be made for the purposes of research which is coordinated at international level. The Convention on Biodiversity could serve as the framework for the exchange of information and the development of guidelines.