First SRMGI workshop in Pakistan
In November 2011, SRMGI (the Degrees Initiative) teamed up with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad, Pakistan, to run a workshop on the research, governance and implications of SRM geoengineering. With expertise in a range of issues from the environment to gender to food security to peace and conflict, SDPI catalyzes the transition towards sustainable development for South Asia and Pakistan by enhancing the government’s capacity to make informed policy decisions and to engage civil society on issues of public interest.
The workshop was attended by 30-40 people and brought together some leading Pakistani climate and development experts from academia, policy-making and civil society. Dr Ishfaq Ahmad, Senior Adviser Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the Planning Commission of Pakistan, chaired the event. In his opening comments, he expressed a number of concerns about the potential implications of SRM and called for further research to explore uncertainties. He also argued against the deployment of geoengineering, unless its safety and effectiveness had been demonstrated, and any action had been approved by the international community.
Shafqat Kakakhel, Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, moderated a group discussion after making initial comments on the need to consider the social and political dimensions of SRM. During the discussions, Dr Arshad Khan, Executive Director of the Global Change Impact Study Center (GCISC) questioned the regional impacts of SRM, while Naseer Gillani, Chief of Environment at the Pakistan Planning Commission advised that the potential for plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere needed further research. Munir Sheikh, Head of the Climatology Section at GCISC warned of the potential fragility of the Earth’s system and reminded participants that changes to one element of the system could have knock-on effects around the world.