Dr. Chukwumerije Okereke’s New York Times guest essay argued against climate activists like Bill Gates and George Soros writing, “My Continent Is Not Your Giant Climate Laboratory.”
Okereke, who works as the director of the Center for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University in Nigeria, explained in the essay on Tuesday the concept of solar geoengineering, which is supposed to redirect climate damage from the sun’s rays.
Although the concept has been gaining traction in recent years, Okereke criticized efforts by Western countries to persuade Africa to get involved.
“As a climate expert, I consider these environmental manipulation techniques extremely risky. And as an African climate expert, I strongly object to the idea that Africa should be turned into a testing ground for their use. Even if solar geoengineering can help deflect heat and improve weather conditions on the ground — a prospect that is unproven on any relevant scale — it’s not a long-term solution to climate change. It sends a message to the world that we can carry on over-consuming and polluting because we will be able to engineer our way out of the problem,” Okereke wrote.
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Ideas such as reflecting sunlight away from the Earth by injecting aerosols are “highly speculative,” Okereke insisted, and could cause more damage to an already poorer nation.
He wrote, “Africa is already suffering the effects of climate change, such as drought, floods and erratic weather. And while geoengineering advocates see these technologies as a solution to such problems, the technologies run the danger of upsetting local and regional weather patterns — intensifying drought or flooding, for example, or disrupting monsoon cycles. And the long-term impact on regional climate and seasons is still largely unknown. Millions, perhaps billions, of people’s livelihoods could be undermined.”
Efforts to push these ideas, however, continued to be pushed by organizations funded by Bill Gates. In addition, George Soros has recently called for further investments into potentially altering the climate in the Arctic.
“Sir David King has a plan to repair the climate system. He wants to recreate the albedo effect by creating white clouds high above the earth,” Soros said. “With proper scientific safeguards and in consultation with local indigenous communities, this project could help restabilize the Arctic climate system which governs the entire global climate system.”
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Okereke continued to warn that these risky investments would not only “need to be deployed essentially forever” to combat “suppressed warming of the carbon dioxide” but would also “divert attention and investments from building renewable energy and other climate solutions in Africa.”
He concluded, “African nations should strongly resist letting their territories be used for experimental exercises like this. And they must join efforts to strengthen the de facto moratorium (under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity) on the development and deployment of these technologies. The technologies are potentially dangerous, and a major distraction from the real change that we all know wealthier nations need to make if we have a hope of outrunning climate devastation.”
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In December, the White House announced a five-year plan to study the effects of geoengineering. The plan was authorized by Congress and will be executed by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Energy.