Environmentalists criticize businessman's ocean 'geoengineering' attempt


Update: Read more about the recent geoengineering event in The New York Times: Iron-dumping experiment in Pacific alarms marine experts


Original post:

A California businessman trying to create lucrative carbon credits for international trading has dumped 100 tons of iron sulphate off the northern British Columbia coast -- just outside Alaska waters -- in an "ocean fertilization" scheme, reports the U.K.'s Guardian. Opponents of the method say Russ George of Planktos Inc. has violated an international ban on the procedure. 

Satellite images appear to confirm the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. The intention is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and then sink to the ocean bed – a geoengineering technique known as ocean fertilisation that he hopes will net lucrative carbon credits.

George is the former chief executive of Planktos Inc, whose previous failed efforts to conduct large-scale commercial dumps near the Galapagos and Canary Islands led to his vessels being barred from ports by the Spanish and Ecuadorean governments. The US Environmental Protection Agency warned him that flying a US flag for his Galapagos project would violate US laws, and his activities are credited in part to the passing of international moratoria at the United Nations limiting ocean fertilisation experiments

Scientists are debating whether iron fertilisation can lock carbon into the deep ocean over the long term, and have raised concerns that it can irreparably harm ocean ecosystems, produce toxic tides and lifeless waters, and worsen ocean acidification and global warming.

Read more at The Guardian: World's biggest geoengineering experiment 'violates' UN rules

Also at The Guardian: Canadian government may have known about geoengineering plan