Rick points out that Planktos is back. Planktos is one of those groups who wanted to fertilize the oceans with iron to sequester C02 out of the atmosphere. Both Rick and I were skeptical. Of course we weren’t the only ones.
This group feels it is premature to sell carbon offsets from the first generation of commercial-scale OIF experiments unless there is better demonstration that OIF effectively removes CO2, retains that carbon in the ocean for a quantifiable amount of time, and has acceptable and predictable environmental impacts. As with any human manipulation of the environment, OIF carries potential risks, as well as potential benefits; moving forward on OIF should only be done if society is willing to acknowledge explicitly that it will result in alteration of ocean ecosystems and that some of the consequences may be unforeseen.
Planktos went under in February of this year. Apparently this hiatus is short lived. Planktos seems to be on a new mission with a new look and website to go with it.
Is this the wolf in a sheep’s cloths or has Planktos really reinvented themselves? One of the reasons Planktos originally closed-up shop, according to them, was a suite of bad publicity. This bad publicity was of course the scientific community questioning the scientific validity and unexpected outcomes of gross iron fertilization in reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It appears that Planktos is simply trying to “green” their image. One way of doing this is by now using the term ecorestoration
Our mission is the restoration of damaged habitats in the ocean and on land. By restoring plankton ecosystems in the oceans and growing new forestation projects worldwide, we are able to help mitigate the impacts modern society has on our planet. We engage in active ecorestoration because mere conservation and reduction of our footprint upon the planet will clearly not be sufficient to pass our success as planetary stewards to our children. The harm we have caused this small blue planet must be healed, and it will take a determined and intelligent effort to accomplish this.
Ecorestoration, or restoring plankton ecosystems, is just another way to say ocean iron fertilization. Another quote from the new website that bothers me
Planktos projects restore plankton populations to revive marine ecosystems
However, what specific negative impacts of ocean gross iron fertilization will have both on the ocean’s surface biology but on the deep ocean is largely unknown. The other issue is how much current ocean degradation is actually due to issues that ocean fertilization can mitigate? Probably little.
The new Planktos also claims to solve our ocean fisheries collapse, fuel crisis, ocean acidification, and provide new medicines in addition. The connections between ocean iron fertilization are tenuous at best.