13 Sep 2022

Venue: Palais des Nations | Room XXV & Online | Webex

Organization: Center for International Environmental Law, Earthjustice, Quaker United Nations Office

The Center for International Environmental Law together with EarthJustice, QUNO, Soka Gakkai International, Third World Network, ETC Group and FIAN Internatioanl, are organizing a Human Rights Council 51th Session side event on the human rights threats posed by geoengineering.

About this Event

“Geoengineering” refers to a set of large-scale technological interventions in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract some of the effects of climate change. This side event will look at the human rights implications and risks of geoengineering interventions, highlighting the importance of human rights-based climate action, interpreted in line with international law obligations under the Paris agreement and the precautionary principle. Speakers will discuss the role of the Human Rights Council, the Advisory Committee, and other human rights processes in the geoengineering discussion. 

In 2021, the Human Rights Council mandated the Advisory Committee to conduct a study on the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights. The report will be submitted to the Council at its 54th session, in 2023, and will address geoengineering.

Proposed geoengineering approaches usually fall under the category of solar radiation management (SRM) or carbon dioxide removal (CDR), targeting land-based, marine and atmospheric ecosystems. Such technologies are largely hypothetical for now, but some CDR approaches are being implemented at small scale and SRM proponents are rapidly moving into real world experiments.

All geoengineering technologies have the potential to undermine fundamental human rights. The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment warned that geoengineering technologies “could have massive impacts on human rights, severely disrupting ocean and terrestrial ecosystems, interfering with food production and harming biodiversity”. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has consistently warned of geoengineering’s risks to people and ecosystems, which remain poorly understood.


Moderator: Kevin Whelan, UN Representative, Amnesty International


  • Yves Lador, Representative to the UN in Geneva, Earthjustice
  • Lili Fuhr, Deputy Director – Climate & Energy Program, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  • Ana Maria Suarez Franco, Permanent Representative at the UN, FIAN International
  • Video statement Margaretha Wewerinke Singh, Assistant Professor of Public International Law (Leiden University, the Netherlands), Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law (University of the South Pacific, Fiji)