The Intersection


Yesterday, I mentioned iron fertilization and more than one email found my inbox inquiring exactly what that means. So with readers in mind, I’ve composed a blog post over at CORRELATIONS explaining Iron Fertilization 101.

Phytoplankton take up CO2 in oceans and then go on to die and sink, and drum roll please…. we’ve got a natural process that helps mitigate lots of the pesky CO2 that’s been mucking up planet earth! You see, iron is a limiting factor for phytoplankton growth, so if we were to, say, dump a lot of Fe into the sea – phytoplankton will bloom and carbon would be sequestrated in oceans.

To offset emissions, for-profit corporations want to spread Fe where it currently limits phytoplankton. Investors hope to use this process to earn carbon credits which would be traded through markets or sold as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions.

But WAIT just one second! Before we jump on the iron fertilization bandwagon, there are a few things important things to consider.

Read about the serious risks associated with this process here


  1. #1 Coturnix
    October 30, 2007

    Rick and Craig also recently wrote about it.

  2. #2 Dunc
    October 30, 2007

    I think another important thing to remember here is that there’s a vast difference between “a limiting factor” and “the limiting factor”. I realise you’ve alluded to this in the linked article, but it could perhaps use being clearer. Eliminating a GLF rarely produces astounding results, as any gardener will tell you (unless you’re really short on macronutrients, anyway).

  3. #3 Emily
    October 31, 2007

    Your readers might also be interested in this recent workshop at Woods Hole: Exploring Ocean Iron Fertilization: the scientific, economic, legal and political basis. The site includes links to the presentations and videos of the sessions, press coverage resulting from the workshop, and related resources.

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