Planetary Engineering

Plan to Dump Iron in Ocean as Climate Fix Attracts Debate
"Both plankton and forest restoration projects remove enormous quantities of global-warming CO2 from the atmosphere," says a statement on Planktos's Web site. But the international conservation group WWF, Galápagos National Park, Greenpeace, and Canadian-based ETC have spoken out opposing the plan.


Also: Earthquake Sets Japan Back To 2147

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9 Responses:

  1. wikkit42 says:

    You're linking to page 2, if that wasn't deliberate.

    Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson told National Geographic News that his group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society plans to send a ship to intercept Planktos' vessel in open waters.


    The document informed IMO that EPA has no power to regulate Planktos, because the company had chosen not to fly a U.S. flag-a move that would allow the ship to avoid U.S. regulations.

    It's interesting that the open seas are still the open seas, and that you can get away with stuff like that. If you intercepted someone's vehicle on a public highway, you'd get charged with all kinds of stuff. I wonder to what extent an American company and American citizens can still get away with stuff once out far enough.

    • wfaulk says:

      I can't find any documentation for this at the moment, but there is a US law that states that if a US citizen engages in an act that would be illegal in the US in a different country where that act is not illegal, he can still be prosecuted for the crime. I want to say that that was set up to curb sex tourism, but I could be wrong about that.

      Of course, since I cannot find any documentation for that (maybe someone else's search skills will be better than mine in this case), I have no idea if that also applies to international waters. I also have no idea if there is a US law that forbids dumping iron in bodies of water.

      • wikkit42 says:

        We've arrested people when they visited the US for doing things in other countries (where they are citizens) that aren't illegal there. < ahref="">Dimitri Sklyarov comes immediately to mind.

        Being on the ocean seems to make everything different, perhaps because some kind of "law of the sea" had been established before most currently existing countries had been.

        Back to the article, I wonder if they take the huge carbon cost of making iron into account when selling the carbon credits. Even if they're using nothing but recycled iron, there's still a cost in the 1400 pounds of coal that would have been saved by recycling a ton of their feedstock.

    • 205guy says:

      I am not a lawyer, but I do keep hearing how the open seas have their own set of laws, established by international treaty I imagine.

      Not flying a country's flag to avoid it's laws probably means they know they're doing something wrong, or at least for which they could get taken to court. I just hope it means they have no protection in the US when Greenpeace harasses them out there.

      Yeah, I think it's pretty silly to go messing with ecosystems like that, including what others have said about the carbon cost of iron in the first place. The carbon-credit markets have had some pretty perverse ecological consequences.

      • fgmr says:

        Not flying a country's flag to avoid it's laws

        Usually ships are flagged in some obscure country merely because the taxes there are cheap. The tradeoff is that that country probably has no navy to protect you.

  2. fgmr says:

    This "iron dumping" has been going on for awhile naturally; dust storms in China blow iron into the ocean and create these blooms. China is trying to plant forests to cut down on these dust storms (they hit the cities hard); they're running into nutcase environmentalists trying to stop them because of the impact on these blooms.

  3. anyfoo says:

    Oh dear, I read that as "Plan to Dump Iran in Ocean [...]"

  4. sixredcities says:

    Watson sure has his hands full - trying to battle Icelandic whaling ships, and now this.

  5. malokai says:

    "And then we dumped the giant ice cube into the ocean, thus solving the global warming crisis once and for all."