Monday, October 22, 2012

Nothing New Emerges from CBD COP11

CBD COP11 in Hyderabad has closed, and its results look set to have little impact on the current state of international regulation of geoengineering.  As noted last week (see Haida Scandal Appears Uninfluential in Hyderabad, 10/19), a deal was reached prior to the final proceedings in which geoengineering opponents agreed to drop their demand for an enforceable test ban, while those countries more open to research agreed to "reaffirm" the existing (non-binding) moratorium.  Opponents were led by Ethiopia, and other prominent critics included Indonesia, Timor Leste, and, of course, Bolivia.  Australia led those arrayed against a test ban, which also included Norway, Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the EU.  The closing plenary formally adopted this agreement on Friday.

The ETC Group and its compatriots were pushing for a full geoengineering test ban, and they disseminated the Haida OIF story with this goal in mind (see OIF Accusations Fly at CBD COP11, 10/17).  However, the outcome of the Hyderabad meeting is essentially the status quo ante.  As such, the final result must be regarded as a loss for opponents of geoengineering, who failed to achieve any more restrictions on research despite staging a world-class public relations campaign.  The LC/LP COP is scheduled to open next Monday in London, and critics will be sure to keep pushing the ocean fertilization controversy in hopes of gaining something tangible out of the unfortunate Haida affair.

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