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Geoengineering

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 116312, tabled on 29 November 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward proposals to introduce a Geo-Engineering Act.

Answered on

5 December 2017

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 21 November 2017 to Question 113158.

Geo-engineering is the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change. A wide range of different geo-engineering techniques has been proposed, in two broad categories: those to remove greenhouse gases directly from the atmosphere and those to reflect some of the Sun’s energy that reaches Earth back into space.

Some forms of geo-engineering are already regulated. For instance, in England, large-scale afforestation is covered by Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations. Oceans are protected from ocean fertilisation activities and, potentially, other forms of marine geo-engineering by the Protocol to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter.

Under the Convention on Biological Diversity the 196 Parties, including the UK, have agreed to take a precautionary approach on geo-engineering activities that may affect biodiversity until there is an adequate scientific basis to justify such activities, with the exception of small-scale, controlled scientific research studies.