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False Climate Solution: Ocean Iron Fertilization

Posted Dec. 10, 2008 / Posted by: RConnors

Half-truths sum up the presentation of Climos during the International Emissions Trading Association's side event on Ocean Iron Fertilization. 

Margaret Leinen, the Scientific Officer of Climos, presented results from an ocean model simulation and ice core data to show that ocean iron fertilization could result in about a33 ppmv drop in CO2.  She forgot to say that the simulation required continuous fertilization of the whole area of the ocean for 100 years - hardly possible technologically. Their proposals suggest fertilizing 0.06% of the total area of the oceans for 1 month at a time.  A closer look at the ice core data reveals that the drop in CO2 preceded the increase in dust flux (the primary source of iron to the ocean).

Not only will such a scheme result in the sequestration of a very small amount of CO2, there are many associated ecological risks including alterations to ecosystem structure, increased production of N2O, a greenhouse gas that is almost 300 times more potent than CO2, an increase in oxygen poor regions, and ocean acidification.

Climos states that at this stage, it simply wants to support basic research to ascertain if ocean iron fertilization is a viable mitigation strategy or not. There is enough evidence showing that it is not viable.

Furthermore, when business funds such R&D, they find a way to get the answer they want.

Posted by Payal Parekh, International Rivers  

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