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Parliamentary questions
PDF 46kWORD 47k
20 September 2011
Answer given by Ms Geoghegan-Quinn on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-006621/2011

The Commission is not aware of any programme deliberately conveying substances into the atmosphere through aircrafts with the aim of influencing the climate. Geo-engineering options to combat climate change are currently subject of research focusing on the potential consequences and impacts but operational programmes for climate modification do not exist, at a European level.

Although no specific legislation exists for this type of applications of chemicals, the current EU legislation, including REACH, Classification and Labelling and Worker Protection Legislation do put obligations aimed at ensuring safety on enterprises manufacturing, importing and using chemicals for such purposes.

Due to the uncertainties related to the effectiveness and associated risks including side-effects on international security, geo-engineering options require thorough discussions in the scientific arena. The Commission is well aware of already ongoing debates taking place in the international scientific community on the technical feasibility, impacts, costs, legal and ethical issues of the deployment of geo-engineering techniques and of the surrounding knowledge gaps.

The issue of chemtrails has not been addressed specifically in Framework Programme research projects. However, recently, two topics on geo-engineering have been included in calls for proposals of the Environment Theme under the seventh framework programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7, 2007‑13) since 2008. The first one resulted in the funding of the project Implications and risks of engineering solar radiation to limit climate change (IMPLICC)(1). IMPLICC conducts numerical modelling studies on three options to engineer solar radiation. Final results of the project are expected by mid‑2012. Furthermore, the 2012 call for proposals, which is open until 20 October 2011, includes the second relevant topic entitled Explore the opportunities, risks, feasibility and policy implications associated with key geo-engineering options to limit climate change which welcomes proposals to evaluate the main geo-engineering options in an inter-disciplinary manner.

This EU‑funded research will tie-in with the ongoing work of the Inter-Govermental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Their assessment of geo-engineering options and the evaluation of their potential impacts, costs and policy implications, including governance, will form part of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), due for publication in 2013‑14.

The Commission has highlighted on several occasions the need to investigate the non-CO2 climate impacts of aviation and it remains committed to delivering such a proposal as part of comprehensive EU climate change policies in the future.

(1)Further information can be obtained on http://implicc.zmaw.de/

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