The application of the “Precautionary Principle” for the deployment of climate bioengineering initiative requires that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change through the Subsidiary Body for Climate Geoengineering (SBCE) to conduct regular and continuous monitoring initiatives of the perceived adverse and positive effects of the reengineering program. It will also require continuous collaboration and active participation among its different stakeholders.5
The precautionary principle states that if our organization performs an initiative that could pose potential harm to the public in sync with the absence of consensus in the scientific community, the burden of proof that the said initiative does cause the said harms lies in us. The said geoengineering program, which intends to spray sulfuric acid into the earth’s stratosphere, is a major subject of debate in the scientific community.3 There is a great divide among them – on one side those who see potential but negligible threats to the environment and on the other those who think that initiative will only aggravate the existing problems related to climate change.1 There is no doubt that our initiative poses potential risk to the environment and to the people a shown on previous studies; hence, the two requirements for the application of the precautionary principle applies.
Various personalities from the scientific community fear that the spraying of sulfuric acid into the stratosphere will result to diverse adverse effects to the environment.2 One of these adverse effects if the increase in the aridity in different parts of the world. It is therefore necessary that our organization begin accumulating records of precipitation of all the countries in the world to as far back in time as we can. We can then begin monitoring their rates and schedule of precipitation regularly when we begin spraying sulfuric acid into the stratosphere. Another perceived adverse effect is the depletion of the ozone layer, brought about by the shielding of the UV rays which is an essential reactant in the formation of ozone molecules from molecular oxygen. While, it may not be practical for us to obtain actual samples of ozone from the stratosphere at a regular basis, we may resort to monitoring the increase or decrease in the size of the ozone holes. In this particular monitoring initiative, we may need to collaborate with the NASA Corporation. Another perceived adverse effect is possible entrance of the sulfur oxides into the troposphere which could then lead to the production of acid rain. Acid rain is known to enhance corrosion among metal surfaces – which adversely effects the infrastructure and construction industry – acidify soil and bodies of water, adversely affect diverse kinds of life forms such as the plants, and could cause serious skin diseases to people.4 With this, we will need to constantly monitor the soil pH and fresh water pH (open sources like ponds and lakes) at or near below the areas where we do the spraying of sulfuric acid. Note that there may also be a need to monitor the increase in the pH of oceans and seas, but this may be done on longer time intervals compared to the soil and fresh water pH monitoring. There may also be need to monitor the harvest of famers on the said areas. This requires an extensive collaboration between the public, experts and the members of our organization.6 In sync with these monitoring initiatives for the possible adverse effects of climate geoengineering, we must also monitor its predicted successes. One of the predicted positive effects is the decrease in the earth’s average temperature.2 It is also predicted to have positive effects to the economy as it requires lesser amounts of resources to carry out.1 Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that when the researchers who had the cost analysis for this type of geoengineering, they did not include the cost that will be spent in implementing the precautionary principle. In other words, the possible cost of constant and regular monitoring for its possible adverse effects was not included.
As the organization in charged with carrying out the geoengineering initiative, Subsidiary Body for Climate Geoengineering must make sure that the end goals of the program are met, without putting the safety of the public and the environment into jeopardy. This implies that the organization and all its members have a social responsibility to makes sure that the public is protected from harm. In accordance with this responsibility and the aforementioned monitoring initiatives, the organization must create policies that put the safety of the public at a high priority. The monitoring initiative should also be participated upon by all the stakeholders, which include the public, the Subsidiary Body for Climate Geoengineering, the academe, the scientific community, other government and non-government organizations and corporations.
If there are points in this memorandum that are unclear, kindly inform me immediately. I will respond to any inquiry as time permits.
- Barett, S. The Incredible Economics of Geoengineering. Environment Resources Economics, 39.1(2008): 45 – 54. Print.
- Burns, Wil. Geoengineering and Climate Change: Overview. Lecture Notes. Print.
- Crutzen, P.J. Albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulfur injections: a contribution to resolve a policy dilemma?. Climate Change, 77.1(2006): 211 – 219. Print.
- Environmental Protection Agency. The Effects of Acid Rain. 5 December 2012. Web.
- Gollier, C., Jullien, B. and Treich, N. Scientific Progress and Irreversibility: An Economic Interpretation of the ‘Precautionary Principle’. Journal of Public Economics, 75.2(2000): 229 – 253. Print.
- Govindasamy, B. and Caldeira, K., and Duffy, P.B. Geoengineering earth’s radiation balance to mitigate climate change from a quadrupling of CO2. Global Planet Change, 37.1(2003): 157 – 168. Print.
In accordance with the request to provide a report on the possible improvement of the treaty’s effectiveness, and what the Parties top priorities should be in the next several decades, please read through this memorandum. Accordingly, the effectiveness of the treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES), lies on the concerted effort of all the parties to implement the provision stated thereof. The priorities of the Parties (Conference of the Parties) must be towards the implementation of the rules and regulations stated in the treaty both at the local, national and international level.
One important way to make the treaty effective is to make more definitive in terms species classification. There have been problems as the proper classification of species as being endangered or not. This causes a problem in the species’ protection. There is also a lack of consensus in adapting the treaty due to economic reasons.8 This requires the creation of a governing body which will create rules that will force all nations to cooperate. Such rules may be rules on trade and sanctions on trade relations for states that are reluctant to cooperate by adopting the treaty. There must also be concrete solutions to the problems. By concrete solutions, we mean that there must a definitive solution for protecting the wildlife and biodiversity. There have been conflicting suggestions in the protection of wildlife and biodiversity. Some suggest the legalization of wildlife products trading (particularly those species that are endangered) for easier and more efficient regulation.3 Some, on the other hand, suggest the complete banning of such trading and the complete closure of the markets associated with it, due to the fact that politicians are corrupt.1,6 T. There should be closure or a final decision with this, and corresponding rules implemented.4
With regards to the priorities of the COP, the first priority is to make sure economic stability upon the implementation of rules against poaching or similar activities. Note that a significant number of the populations of the states or nations who are members of the parties, especially those of the third world countries, are dependent on such activities for their livelihood.5 The parties should therefore help provide alternative livelihood if they would enforce laws (such as those mandated in CITES).2 The parties should also focus on effort in financing the activities associated with wildlife and endangered species protection. The COP is composed of rich and poor nations. The abuse of the wildlife and the continuous utilization of endangered species for livelihood are still high among poor nations.7 There are proposals that the rich nations, which are more technologically advance, lend the poor nations with their technologies that would make the harnessing of other resources, which lessen the reliance on wild life and endangered species.2 The parties should also create and review their protocols on how to protect biodiversity. Such rules include those of the Genetically Modified Crops (GMO), which pose danger to biodiversity among the planting crops if blown out of proportions.2 Note that GMO could endanger biodiversity when the majority, if not all famers subscribe to planting Genetically Modified Crops. Such protocols would also include the sharing of genetic resources among GMO-creating firms and research institutions. COP should also focus on executing mitigation efforts to combat the effects of invasive species which are causing a great harm to biodiversity. Invasive species are causing biodiversity to decline, it also pose economic harm. Also, the COP must encourage active participation among other groups that are working towards wildlife preservation and endangered species protection.9 In other words it should encourage and empower all stakeholders, such as the government, private, the academe, and non-government organizations. This particular focus will help in the capacity building initiatives. Lastly, the parties should be able to identify indicators of success of all the efforts that they are implementing. This is important so as to check if they are progressing in accordance with their set goals, as well as determine if they need to amend some aspects of their efforts. Such indicators could be biological indicators (the number and population of invasive alien species, or monitoring the level of biodiversity on particular areas, such as those that are under conservation protection) and economic indicators (the improvement in the livelihood of people). In a much broader sense the Parties must always take into consideration the environmental as well as the economic impact of all the initiatives that it wants to perform for the protection of wildlife and the endangered species. These two factors should considered in twain, simultaneously.
As members of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Secretariat and as member of the Conference of Parties, our organization must make sure that it syncs its efforts in accordance with the treaty and the priorities aforementioned. Please do not hesitate to contact me if clarifications are needed for tis memorandum.
- Bennett, Elizabeth. Legal Ivory Trade in a Corrupt World and its Impact on African Elephant Populations. Conservation Biology, 00.0(2014): 1 – 7.
- Burns, Wil. CBD. 2014. Lecture Notes. Print.
- Corruption Tracker. 2011. Ivory smuggling exposes massive graft at ports. Tanzania Corruption Tracking System.2011. Web. 9 November 2014.
- Garnett, S. T., L. N. Joseph, J. E. M. Watson, and K. K. Zander. Investing in threatened species conservation: Does corruption outweigh purchasing power? 2011. PLoS ONE 6 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0022749.
- Horne, B. D., C. M. Poole, and A. D.Walde, editors. Conservation of Asian tortoises and freshwater turtles: setting priorities for the next ten years. Recommendations and conclusions from the workshop in Singapore, February 21–24, 2011. Society, Singapore: Wildlife Conservation. 2012. Print.
- LAGA (Last Great Ape Organization). LAGA and the fight against corruption. 2013. Web. 9 November 2014.
- Rademeyer, J. Killing for profit: exposing the illegal rhino horn trade. Cape Town, South Africa: Zebra Press. 2012. Print.
- Robinson, J. G. Calculating maximum sustainable harvests and sustainable off takes. Pages 521–524 in J. G. Robinson and E. L. Bennett, editors. Hunting for sustainability in tropical forests. New York: Columbia University Press.2000. Print.
- Wasser, S. K., W. J. Clark, O. Drori, E. S. Kisamo, C. Mailand, B. Mutayoba, and M. Stephens. Combating the illegal trade in African elephant ivory with DNA forensics. Conservation Biology, 22.1(2008):1065–1071.