FishNet Alliance, a network of artisanal fishermen across the African continent on Sunday kicked against the concept of Ocean Geoengineering as an option to address climate change at the ongoing COP 27 Climate Conference in Egypt.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ocean Geoengineering involves the large-scale manipulation of a specific process central to controlling Earth’s climate for the purpose of obtaining a specific benefit.
The fishermen groups who took the campaign to the ongoing United Nations Climate conference argued that artificially manipulating solar radiation amidst the earth’s natural dynamics can only worsen the plight of the African continent and the Southern hemisphere.
FishNet’s submission is contained in a statement by Miss Kome Odhomor, Media/Communication Lead at Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), the Nigerian-based coordinating organisation for the pan-African coalition.
FishNet noted that at a time that the world is faced with the impacts of climate change with Africa already experiencing unprecedented, elevated levels, the responsible thing to do is to tackle the problems from the roots and take real actions that would not further exacerbate the problem.
The alliance insisted that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its conference of Parties (COP) have successively failed in their supposed main aim of “preventing dangerous human interference with the climate system.”
According to FishNet, the UN interventions have blatantly provided a platform for the consolidation of dangerous techniques to create more problems at the expense of people and the planet.
“The COP27 taking place at Sharm El-Shiek, Egypt, has unsurprisingly also followed that paradigm of dangerous industry-scripted negotiations.
‘The definition given by the UNFCCC Article 6.4 Mechanism that “removals are processes or outcome of processes to remove greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere through anthropogenic activities and durably store in geological, terrestrial, or ocean reservoirs, or in products” is rather misleading.
“This is because it sees targeted sites of storage as mere empty spaces rather than as ecosystems.
“Marine geoengineering presents a huge risk – some of which may be unprecedented, depending on the type of technique deployed,” Fishnet said.
According to the alliance, some techniques proposed are: enhancing ocean alkalinity; macroalgae cultivation and other biomass for sequestration including artificial upwelling; marine cloud brightening; and microbubbles/reflective particles/material.
The group noted that while these could be official licenses to promote ocean acidification, releasing dangerous gases like methane stored in ocean formations, altering the PH of the ocean, and disrupting the food chain, there are fears that marine geoengineering could actually release more carbon than it can capture.
“For example, with ocean fertilization that will cause algae bloom, research has shown that there could be the problem of a harmful algae bloom which can cause toxicity and death of marine organisms or even render the aquatic ecosystem hypoxic by creating dead zones as a result of oxygen depletion.
“As the bloom happens, bacteria activities also increase and more oxygen is consumed as the algae die and sink to the bottom,” Fishnet noted.
FishNet Alliance explained that it condemns the attempts by the UNFCCC to entrench market environmentalism, which entails creating markets for the destruction of the environment,
with vested interests, against the call that marine geoengineering should not be considered a removal technique.
FishNet Alliance urges parties at COP27 to ensure that they don’t aid ocean degradation and colonisation.
Calling on leaders to bring real climate solutions to the negotiation table, the Director of the HOMEF,
Nnimmo Bassey, said: “Climate change is the outcome of systemic failure. Geoengineering seeks to maintain the system of exploitation and pollution by pretending to be able to control planetary systems and the complex intricacies of Nature.
“Sneaking carbon dioxide removal and others into the climate negotiations will further tilt the geopolitical balance against vulnerable nations who are already victims of climate change. It is obnoxious that anyone would think of the oceans as reservoirs of mindless human pollution.
“Our ocean, our land and sky should not be grabbed as carbon sinks while our people sink in the morass of exploitation and oppression. Stop emissions at source. Change the system now!”
Also. fisherman and a FishNet Alliance member from Akassa community in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, lamented that it is foolish to expend so much energy and resources doing what should not have been done in the first place.
The statement quoted him as saying: “Marine Geoengineering is a ploy to destroy the little hope of
survival of fishermen and coastal community dwellers who are already faced with myriad environmental, socioeconomic and livelihood issues.
“We must resist every of their subterfuge and tactics! He added.”
Kwami Kpondzo of Friends of the Earth Togo stated that “Climate crisis is killing people and destroying forests and biodiversity.
“The narrative of Geoengineering that polluters are bringing will legitimate the continuation of carbon dioxide emissions as they will think of carbon removals with technologies. This evil thinking will not help resolve the climate crisis.
“What we need is to stop financing fossil fuels and transform the energy system decentralize and own by people.”
The coalition maintained that for a continent like Africa, especially coastal communities that already suffer the excruciating and ubiquitous impacts from pollution, coastal erosion, sea level rise, displacements from their traditional fishing grounds, and livelihoods losses amongst other climate and environmental issues, the impacts would be exponential and recovery may become impossible.
FishNet Alliance said it opposes extractive activities in water bodies, including rivers, lakes and oceans and opposes all forms of marine geoengineering as they are designed to disrupt the cycles of Nature and put profit before the wellbeing of people.
“Our demands are: Stop all forms of negotiations on marine geoengineering. Place a permanent moratorium on marine geoengineering. Name and shame polluters, historically responsible for the climate chaos we are in.
“Kick polluters out of the COP. Pay the climate and ecological debt,” FishNet demanded.