Friends of the Earth Australia today joins 158 other NGOs from 36 countries in calling on governments to amend the technology transfer text at Copenhagen to include an explicit commitment to precaution, and to prevent promotion of high risk, unproven ‘techno-fixes’ without social and environmental assessment.

Technology transfer is one of the four key topics being discussed under negotiations on Long-Term Cooperative Actions in Copenhagen. A new international body for climate-related technologies is likely to be created and new funds will be made available to it. But so far, the texts make no mention of any assessment of environmental or social impacts of these technologies.

“The Copenhagen technology transfer text should not provide financial and political backing to climate-technology cowboys,” said Friends of the Earth Australia nanotechnology spokesperson Georgia Miller.

“Friends of the Earth Australia today joins over 150 NGOs from around the world in calling for a commitment to precaution in the promotion of new ‘techno-fixes’ at Copenhagen.”

“The climate crisis demands urgent action to curb emissions. But in the rush to address the climate crisis, governments should not provide strong financial and political backing to high risk, unproven technologies such as ‘geo-engineering’ (climate manipulation), without these technologies ever being subject to environmental and social assessment”.

“We need to make sure the right technologies get the support they need and the wrong ones are discarded. That won’t happen without a comprehensive environmental and social assessment process.”

“Promoters of ocean fertilisation, atmospheric injection of sulphate particles, synthetic biology for agrofuels and emerging technologies are keen to secure government backing for their industries. But these technologies could have devastating ecological or social consequences, without helping reduce carbon emissions.”

“NGOs around the world are calling for the Copenhagen technology transfer text to require environmental and social assessment, to recognise the precautionary principle and to involve affected communities in the decision making process,” concluded Ms Miller.