Monday, 8 September 2008

Ocean iron fertilisation

We had a seminar today from XXXXX XXXXX, the XXXXX of XXXXX, a private organisation interested in technology for removing CO2 from the atmosphere, primarily via ocean iron fertilisation (at least for now).

The seminar was a bit long-winded, and apart from being very "research positive" (i.e. more research would be nice), I wasn't entirely clear on what XXXXX was all about. Most of the aspects of the presentation that I found interesting were focused on non-OIF issues, such as the London Convention and the acceleration of CO2 emissions (which, apparently, are increasing faster than previously estimated). So, while the background and legal aspects were covered pretty well, the OIF bits were given slightly short shrift. Then again, I think the speaker was assuming we were all au fait with those. Fair enough really given that NOCS people (myself included) recently produced a review of the technical aspects of ocean geoengineering.

Overall, I'm still rather hesitant about getting behind geoengineering. It's pretty much not what we should be doing, but at the same time I'm well aware that it'd be a conscious and (hopefully) rational change to a biosphere that has already been heavily impacted by (largely) unconscious changes. And there are a lot of technologies and strategies other than geoengineering that I'd really prefer that we tried first (even expanding nuclear fission!). Mostly those focused on decreasing emissions in the first place - surely the obvious strategy? One of XXXXX's main messages was that these possibly weren't sufficient, but I'm less sure about that.

Though the ocean is, in some respects, less impacted than the terrestrial biosphere, and could probably take the hit, I'm just reluctant to bring another part of the biosphere under our control. We've not got a good record on noticing or preserving ecosystem services, and it can't be a good idea to start messing with those that the ocean provides.

No comments: