The Big Bad Fix: The case against geoengineering

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The “Big Bad Fix” provides policy makers, journalists, NGO activists, social movements, and other change agents with a comprehensive overview of the key actors, technologies and fora relevant in the geoengineering discourse. It delivers a sound background analysis of the history of geoengineering, the various vested interests shaping it, and case studies on some of the most important technologies and experiments.

It calls for an urgent and immediate ban on the deployment and outdoor testing of Solar Radiation Management technologies for their potential to suspend human rights, democracy, and international peace. It argues for a governance of geoengineering that is participatory and transparent, grounded in international law, built on the precautionary principle and informed by a rigorous debate on real, existing, transformative and just climate policies and practices.

It is a call to action for a movement of movements to come together to oppose geoengineering as a technofix for climate change and as a threat to world peace, democracy and human rights.


Product details
Date of Publication
December 2017
Biofuelwatch, Heinrich Böll Foundation, ETC Group
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents

Chapter 1 – Geoengineering: The Emperors’ New Climate

  • A New, Environmental Empire; Empire’s Techno-fixes
  • Does the Emperor have Clothes? Empirical Hubris in History
  • A “Climate of the Willing”?
  • The Emperor’s new hose?
  • Safe, fair and ecologically sustainable solutions to the climate crisis

Chapter 2 – Geoengineering: The Technologies

  • Box: Three categories of Geoengineering as proposed by geoengineers
  • Land: Geoengineering technologies that target terrestrial ecosystems
  • Oceans: Geoengineering technologies that target marine ecosystems
  • Air: Geoengineering technologies that target the atmosphere

Chapter 3 – Case Studies

  • Case Study I: Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage
  • Case Study II: Fixing the climate with algae?
  • Case Study III: Ocean fertilization: LOHAFEX, Planktos-Haida-Oceaneos
  • Case Study IV: Ocean fertilization: Korea Polar Research Institute
  • Case Study V: Artificial (Ocean) Upwelling in China
  • Case Study VI: The SPICE experiment
  • Case Study VII: SCoPEx: Stratospheric aerosol injection experiment
  • Case Study VIII: Marine Cloud Brightening in Monterey Bay, California

Chapter 4 – The Case Against Geoengineering

  • Mega Scale; Unreliable and high-risk; Environmental hazards; Irreversibility;
  • Exacerbate global power imbalances and inequity; Intergenerational injustice; Justification for climate inaction; Carbon profiteering; Convergence of large-scale emerging technologies; Global control
  • Weaponization; Treaty violation; Diversion of resources, funding and research efforts from real solutions

Chapter 5 – Who Is Behind Geoengineering?

  • Old fossils, new frames; The Geoclique
  • Cliques are not good for democracy or science
  • Literature and patents – who owns geoengineering?
  • Research on geoengineering; Multinational research projects
  • National programs
  • The IPCC: normalizing geoengineering?
  • The Climate Merchants
  • War climate: military & geoengineering
  • Conservationist for the Earth... Manipulation
  • Defending Mother Earth: geoengineering and indigenous resistance
  • Chapter 6 – Geoengineering Governance
  • Is it possible to govern geoengineering? The Holy Grail of “negative emissions”
  • A starting point; Geoengineering discussions at the UN
  • Transboundary nature; Research and governance – the chicken and the egg?
  • Is a global consensus possible? Broad societal deliberations must come first
  • Box: A legitimate discussion on geoengineering governance must be:

Chapter 7 – The Way Forward

  • A radical realism; The norm is a rejection of geoengineering
  • Maintain and reinforce the moratoria; Stop open-air experiments
  • Work for a ban; Broad societal debates, broad frameworks ; Hands Off Mother Earth!

Annex 1 – Geoengineering at the United Nations
Annex 2 – Non-governmental initiatives on geoengineering governance
Glossary of Geoengineering Technology Acronyms
About the authors - ETC group, Biofuelwatch and Heinrich Böll Foundation

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