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Thread: Controvesial and maybe illegal geoengineering experiment?

  1. #1 Controvesial and maybe illegal geoengineering experiment? 
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    I came across a news article about this iron sulphate ocean fertilising experiment. My understanding that another trial of iron sulphate fertilising boosted plankton blooms near the surface but didn't carry much Carbon down to the ocean bottom. Is geoengineering a distraction - and perhaps ongoing excuse to fail to act on emissions?


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    I think so--though something might be necessary down the road.


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    Ken:
    from your linked article:
    A controversial American businessman dumped around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

    Lawyers, environmentalists and civil society groups are calling it a "blatant violation" of two international moratoria and the news is likely to spark outrage at a United Nations environmental summit taking place in India this week.

    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.
    Which is exactly why I do not want governments involved-------and, I think the carbon credit scheme may lead to the worst environmental disaster for the whole time of the species.

    Governments are addressing the emissions---Obama wants automobiles to double average fuel economy in 10 years. And, ever more expensive oil will drive those changes also. Meanwhile, everything from gas furnaces to electric motors are more efficient than they were a generation ago.
    etc.etc.

    But crack-pot capitalists like mr. George are potentially becoming more dangerous with every ill considered piece of legislation---kinda like oversteering a car going into a spin.
    Ain't we already smacked nature in the head with a 2x4? Do we really gotta encourage this sort of insanity?
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    I came across a news article about this iron sulphate ocean fertilising experiment. My understanding that another trial of iron sulphate fertilising boosted plankton blooms near the surface but didn't carry much Carbon down to the ocean bottom. Is geoengineering a distraction - and perhaps ongoing excuse to fail to act on emissions?
    I don't find it clear in any of the articles what was the motive for them to go ahead and spend so much money to carry out this project. I am not sure if they are trying to make money by offsetting greenhouse gases. Humans are so quick to permit activities that only destroy the environment and make billions of dollars, but when it comes to projects to try to help the planet such as geoengineering, everything goes slow.
    Walking every street of Toronto to raise awareness of global warming http://www.whatscoolerthancool.org/
    Petitioning world leaders and governments to take more effective action on climate change http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/...l-warming.html
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    Sculptor, failure to organise responses at government regulatory level to the climate and emissions problem will just result in an overall failure to respond. Even at the level of funding of R&D, governments have a crucial role. That will have to include some say in what goes into the oceans as well as atmosphere. Trying to get government and regulation to work better makes sense but to imagine things will go better in their absence is an illusion. Take a look around the world where governments and regulation are weak and ineffectual and you won't find glorious utopias where all the big problems are getting solved.

    When the free market is free to not count the accumulating external costs as 'real' and the big players in that market have great influence and use it to keep it that way, we are going lose the window of opportunity to limit the future damage.
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    Our economic system is part of the problem for sure because there's very little connection between production of damaging products and the end-damage. A coal power plant doesn't pay pro-rated expenses for the mercury or respiratory health issues, a oil producer doesn't pay for the military cost to secure the oil fields, or state department cost to keep things stable, none of them are paying to future cost of climate change mitigation. Meanwhile there's money to be made from ego-engineering to fix problems so it will likely happen unless we pull our head from our backside and figure out how to connect cost at the producing end.
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  8. #7  
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    right now
    we need oil
    so, we have limited control
    fortunately(or un?) the suppliers know this, and work us for every last penny they can get.
    First, we (the USA) need to get our demand down to what we, canada, and mexico can supply.
    (and a good part of that will have to include alternate forms and uses of energy)
    then we'll be able to bargain from strength, bring the armies home, and invest more in energy efficiency and infrastructure.

    the energy juggernaut is a great tool that has led us into a trap
    We cannot stop it - but, with concerted effort, we can slow it down------we need to control it by efficiencies, and alternatives

    the "all of the above" situation is the only way out of this trap

    Think about who will win, and who will pay for "carbon credits"
    ultimately, it will be a boondoggle amassing wealth for a few at the expense of the many.

    What will happen to our world position if the chinese decide to buy oil in yuans or renminbi?
    How much time do we have left as the world's default currency?
    The first order of business is to get demand down to local supply levels, then keep shrinking it as we switch use and useage to alternatives.
    Something as simple as running plants/factories on alternative energy when that energy is abundant, and laying off when it ain't.
    If you need 160 hrs of production per month to make your quotas, does it need to happen every day from 8 till 4? or is that just a convenience that we may not be able to afford.
    Consumption and consumerism have become diseases, and need to be treated as such.

    One of my pet peeves is luxure vehicles built on "light truck" chassis to avoid the fleet mileage efficiency regulations----that is absolute nonsense, but is an expected response to ill conceived legislation and restrictions. Laws are much like fences that do not complete a circuit, walking around their edges is usually quite simple. Why is this insanity of cadillac and lincoln "trucks" not adressed.

    whither hence?
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  9. #8  
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    First, we (the USA) need to get our demand down to what we, canada, and mexico can supply.
    (and a good part of that will have to include alternate forms and uses of energy)
    Just look at this video from 5.00 to 7.30 to get some idea of the kinds of reductions in USA consumption you'd need to come anywhere near that goal. The Most IMPORTANT Video You'll Ever See (part 6 of 8) - YouTube and he drives the point home at 8.15 to 9.15.

    It's only a portion of the whole series of 8 videos (of an over one hour lecture) starting here. The Most IMPORTANT Video You'll Ever See (part 1 of 8) - YouTube
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    we, canada, and mexico

    With regard to oil or gas why is this important? It's a common mantra for the past couple years in US politics but we have excellent global transportation and would be completely unwilling to nationalize or lawfully order any company not to raise prices if the global prices prices spiked even if the
    oil came out of West Texas. Of course the real cost of oil is probably something like $8/gallon once we add all the damage and security cost. If course I agree for less transportable energy, such as hydro etc and desperately need an advanced grid in the US so we can move it were we need it. Conservation should be out top priority however--across the board.
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  11. #10  
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    With regard to oil or gas why is this important?
    Both Canada and Mexico can supply us through pipelines
    and
    we don't need no army in the middle east for canadien oil sands, or mexican crude.

    of course, there is something to be said for constantly having a modest sized army in the field
    that is
    we will always have a battle experienced cadre who can train and lead a much larger army should we need one
    ......
    but we were talking about energy
    and conversion to non fossile fuels

    and $8/gallon ain't sustainable
    so the quest for alternatives is enhanced
    .........
    one of the main problems is that we have built a highway system, suburbs, etc... that are based on individual transportation, and have no current alternative. Then look at India and China building out their own highway systems---all imply---oil for tires,and plastics, and fuel

    so alternative energy to replace an extreemly efficient internal combustion engine remains a holy grail
    or
    are we gonna rearrange our infrastructure?
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    Both Canada and Mexico can supply us through pipelines
    and
    we don't need no army in the middle east for canadien oil sands, or mexican crude.
    This is wrong, unless we intend to impose restrictions on our companies about who they sell their gas and oil to. Gas and oil are global commodities. Even if we produced 200% more oil than we required, a war in the middle would rocket oil prices and our companies would raise prices accordingly, sell their oil overseas and demand higher prices domestically. There's very little connection between domestic production and price than than the pennies saved by transportation cost. This is why no degree of domestic production reduces the need to secure oil sources overseas. The only alternative would be nationalizing the oil fields, and oil shale etc and by force of regulation separate domestic market from the international by force of law on companies. That probably won't happen.

    --
    are we gonna rearrange our infrastructure?
    Not in the US for ground. The public is squarely against it. I do think there might be a role for high speed rail replacing air travel. We'd make better progress on that front by breaking down antiquated zoning models which force people to drive miles from where they live to their workplace. Connecting the mass transit we do have would help as well--its simply crazy that a person can't land at a world class terminal such as SEATAC (Seattle Tacoma) and get on a train without taking a 30 minute taxi or 40 minute bus ride. I was frequently amazing by Europe simply because their transportation nods were connected making if much easier to move from one system to another even if crossing the continent. All be said, I think the US in 25 years will still be car centric and dependent on liquid fuel for transportation--its just a matter of what type.
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  13. #12  
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    Lynx
    you just said we are currently paying $8.00
    compared to price at the pump, we have a lot of margin there.
    if we ain't wasting our money on oil wars, we could out bid most other countries.
    true?

    When I lived in Chicago, we looked to buy within 5 blocks of the comuter rail line that connects to ohare airport
    walk 5 blocks, give 'em a buck, relax, walk into the terminal(or ride the rolling walkways)
    when we get back, reverse.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    Lynx
    you just said we are currently paying $8.00
    compared to price at the pump, we have a lot of margin there.
    if we ain't wasting our money on oil wars, we could out bid most other countries.
    true?
    [quote]Outbid how? The oil companies aren't paying those military and UN cost, it wouldn't change their expenses one whit. As an American society it might save a couple bucks per gallon, but would it be a false savings? One Persian Gulf blocking war, would still drive real supply and demand prices up dramatically and those would be amplified by speculators, even for oil produced stateside because it's a well connected global commodity. I think the last time the government ordered price fixing was under Nixon.

    When I lived in Chicago, we looked to buy within 5 blocks of the comuter rail line that connects to ohare airport
    walk 5 blocks, give 'em a buck, relax, walk into the terminal(or ride the rolling walkways)
    when we get back, reverse.
    That's much better than Seattle---good for Chicago. On the other hand switching transportation in much of Europe is as easy as taking an escalator and hoping on a train below the air terminal--often very clean, and secure and so simple even a foreigner has no trouble figuring out how to get around.
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    OK. Back to the OP.

    Just found this reportwhich tells us that if you're serious about iron fertilisation for carbon sequestration you have to be really, really careful about where, when and how you do it. This experiment was very successful in getting carbon into organisms that then sank to the ocean floor.

    These results contrast with those of the LOHAFEX experiment carried out in 2009 where diatom growth was limited by different nutrient conditions, especially the absence of dissolved silicon in the chosen eddy. Instead, the plankton bloom consisted of other types of algae which, however, have no protective shell and were eaten more easily by zooplankton. “This shows how differently communities of organisms can react to the addition of iron in the ocean“, says Dr. Christine Klaas. “We expect similarly detailed insights on the transportation of carbon between atmosphere, ocean and sea bottom from the further scientific analysis of the LOHAFEX data”, adds Prof. Dr. Wolf-Gladrow, Head of Biosciences at the Alfred Wegener Institute, who is also involved in the Nature study.
    So just dumping iron where it's most convenient for you is not very likely to do anything very useful for sequestration. You might even promote the growth of the wrong kind of critters.

    Worth reading the report.
    Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) Detail[mode]=6&cHash=3482976213750f4571642add96729dc3

    Of course the full paper is behind the Nature paywall http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture11229.html . Those with university access can read it.
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  16. #15  
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    And a bit more discussion about the virtues of projects like the one in the OP.
    Sequestering carbon in the ocean is hard to do, and even harder to measure | Planet3.0

    Otters are cute. Never knew they were so useful.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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