Geoscience Solutions and Advocacy for Net Zero

13 October, 12:00 - 16:30 UTC Free online event
Geoscience Solutions and Advocacy for Net Zero


For over a century, we have been relying on fossil (geological) fuels to meet our energy needs. Forecasts suggest fossil fuel usage is set to continue for several decades with severe consequences for Earth’s climate. Encouraging behavioural change and pursuing rapid replacement of fossil fuels with renewables continues to be a top priority. However, climate and resource tipping points are imminent and exacerbated by recent global phenomena, both conflict driven and climate change-related disasters. Can nature-based solutions, championed at COP26, make a material difference in keeping global temperature increase below 2o C by 2050? Hope is essential, but keeping all viable options on the table and science to policy channels open seems sensible, considering the impact of not deploying the most cost-effective combination of mitigation options will have on people and planet.

The case for geosolutions

Earth’s climatic evolution largely reflects a balance between the sun, the rocks and the living. Currently we are living in a climate emergency caused by burning half a billion years of sunshine and carbon, stored in fossil fuels, over the geological instant of a few hundred years, causing an unprecedented perturbation in Earth’s natural carbon cycle. This imbalance requires a re-think of mitigation solutions to include geological solutions, which are almost absent in the solutions advocated for at the policy level at COP26 (‘Nature’ COP) and beyond. With only one year until COP28 (‘Technology’ COP), where engineering solutions may have their spotlight moment, the clock is ticking and the geoscience toolbox remains woefully underutilised. If there were Earth-science based solutions out there (which there are), how confident or comfortable would our own geoscience community be in playing an active part in raising the profile of such tools at the policy level?  Has the legacy of the oil and gas dollar and the public’s hard to quench suspicion of the subterranean, created a stagnation in our enthusiasm to put our science to the test solving the greatest challenges society faces? Is our job really to just produce the science and see who bites? To let economics tease out the viable solutions? To move at pace and at the macro-scale, with solutions that will make a meaningful dent in carbon emissions may require an extra hand from those who have the knowledge and want positive change. With economic growth having traditionally been the primary motivation for many of our geoscience applications, can we reverse the mind-set to address planetary and humanity’s wellbeing, to drive positive change? How would we communicate the need, the solutions, risks, and viable pathways available for a geo-accelerated energy transition? Is the geoscience communications machine too rusty and mono-purposed to deal with today’s pressing requirements? Has the post-Covid infodemic elevated the comms noise level to force a re-think? Are we better off educating citizens at all levels from schools to policy forums about the possibilities of our own Earth to play a significant role in reaching Net Zero in an environmentally sustainable fashion?

The event

In this Geosolutions for Net Zero event, we want to raise and discuss these issues, and explore the nested scales of actions individual geoscientists right the way up to geo-unions can take to help accelerate the energy transition. We will hear from the International Science Council on their views about the role that various sciences might play in addressing the climate crisis. How are the Earth sciences doing compared to our science contemporaries? We will investigate the geoethics of advocacy and explore what a science communication rethink might look like. Towards the end of the session, we will explain and explore the case for Geological Net Zero and low/zero carbon practitioners to see how they can contribute to making ‘Geo’ the path to Net Zero.

We invite everyone to debate what role geoscientists and Geo-unions and the geoscience community at large should be playing in promoting Earth Science Solutions in public and at the policy level. We hope to capture your suggestions on how we can we do more to play a significant role in combatting climate change and addressing other key environmental challenges. We hope to find out if your organisation might be interested in joining a consortium of Geo-unions and geological organisations to develop a set of Global Geological Development Goals to help our community make more progress towards progressing key SDGs? As an international organisation, we are especially interested in hearing from countries where geosolutions might be most likely deployed in the future. What are your thoughts and plans and how can we help.

We hope you will join for this unique event.

Geosolutions for Net Zero: Current Program

12:00Welcome by Professor John Ludden (IUGS President), housekeeping
12:05COP26 – COP27 Presenting progress and regressions since the last COP and an independent review of energy and climate forecasts.

Presenter: Arijit Goswami (IUGS Earth Steward and independent youth representative (India))
12:10COP27 A short brief of what will be happening at COP27 in Egypt in Nov 2022.

Presenter: Sherif Abdelkader (IUGS Earth Steward and independent Arab Youth Council for Climate Change representative (Egypt))
12:12Geoethics of advocacy in addressing society’s greatest challenges

Giuseppe Di Capua IAPG-International Association for Promoting Geoethics (Treasurer)
12:25The big geo-communications rethink

Professor Iain Stewart, El Hassan Research Chair for Sustainability, UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society
12:40The role of science and science unions in solving some of society’s greatest challenges

Alison Meston (International Science Council)
12:55The possible role of Geo-unions in solving key global challenges such as the climate crisis, Earth resource shortages, and anthropogenic degradation of the natural environment.

Professor John Ludden – President of the IUGS
13:05Micro-scale (individual geoscientist) Advocacy policy approaches – EGU
13:20A hand over to the advocates for Geosolutions (with possible macro-scale advocacy potential)
13:35A short insight into the potential contribution of Geological solutions vs biological to meeting Net Zero

Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh
13:50The Case for Geological Net Zero

Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment and Department of Physics, and Director of the Oxford Net Zero initiative.
14:05Case study of one of the possible Geosolutions – CCS

Professor He Qingcheng, Principal scientist of Carbon Capture and Storage of China Geological Survey
14:20Geothermal solutions for cooling and heating demands and its global potential to contribute to Net Zero

Dr Sanaa Al-Zyoud, Al al-Bayt University, Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Jordan
14:20Panel Discussion

Chairs: Prof. Iain Stewart & Prof. John Ludden

30 mins of addressing key questions asked by attendees & 3 key questions prepared for the event (answerable by interactive poll). Then 30 mins of open mic. – Attendees to be able to air their opinions.

Summary and action points from Professor John Ludden (IUGS President)

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