Good, at least this idea is going to be properly looked at:
Scientists are considering a plan to combat climate change by dumping millions of tons of iron into the ocean to alter its chemical make-up.
They believe the iron could act as a “fertiliser”, promoting the growth of tons of plankton that would soak up carbon dioxide from the surrounding sea water. When the plankton died, their bodies would sink into the deepest waters and sediments, where the carbon would be locked up indefinitely.
The theory, known as “ocean fertilisation”, has long caused controversy among marine scientists, many of whom doubted that it could work. This week leading researchers will meet at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts for a scientific conference to discuss the idea.
The last time I ran through the numbers on this I think I came up with a figure of a few cents per tonne of CO2 removed: that, of course, on the assumption that it actually works. Actually having a scientific meeting to discuss it is a great idea. For, at present, we\’ve got two highly partisan sides:
Russ George, chief executive of Planktos, said adding a single ton of iron could remove as much as 100,000 tons of dissolved CO2 from the oceans.
Russ is running a company which would dearly love to be allowed to get going, to sell the offsets and also, attract more investors.
Dr David Santillo, a senior scientist at the Greenpeace research laboratories at Exeter University, said iron fertilisation was a foolish idea.
David doesn\’t want there to be a solution to climate change that doesn\’t involve a radical change in society.
While my instinctive sympathies are with Russ (good to see a man trying to make a buck) I do think it would be a good idea to actually study the evidence and find out whether it actually works. Which is, I assume, what the meeting of scientists is all about.