Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Are geoengineers taking the p*** in the Pacific?

Although typically an end of the week type post this article serves to show how regulatory loopholes can be exploited.

Is this a good or a bad idea?

You do have to wonder how sites get selected for such geoengineering experiments.

Absorbing CO2 by Dumping Urea Into Ocean Pisses Off Activists[Weird Science]

The Philippines government has approved an Australian company's plan to absorb excess CO2 by dumping massive amounts of urea in the Sulu Sea. Environmental activists say the dumping is a potentially risky, scientifically unsound gamble that underscores the dangerous absence of international geoengineering regulations.


The groups called for regulators currently meeting to discuss the London Convention to evaluate urea dumping as well as iron seeding. The Convention, enacted by the International Maritime Organization in 1972, prohibits oceanic waste dumping -- but while simply pouring urea into the sea would be illegal, doing so to absorb carbon dioxide is permitted, or at least not forbidden.

That regulatory loophole is symbolic of the general absence of international guidelines for large-scale climate modification projects, both at sea and on land; and Sulu Sea urea dumping, proposed by the Ocean Nourishment Corporation and planned in the future for Malaysia, Chile and the United Arab Emirates, is symbolic of projects that are only going to become more common as climate change and entrepreneurship collide.

Pissing for Profit in the Pacific[ETE Group]
As governments meet in London today to discuss whether the high seas should be used for large-scale iron dumping by companies promising a quick-fix for climate change, one private company is rushing ahead with a new ocean dumping scheme in Southeast Asia – this time with urea. Civil society groups have learned that Ocean Nourishment Corporation (ONC) of Sydney, Australia has been given a “go signal” by the Philippines government to experimentally dump hundreds of tonnes of industrially-produced urea, most likely into the Sulu Sea between Philippines and Borneo.


“The global South is once again a dumping ground for risky technologies – this time our oceans are being threatened by high-risk geoengineering schemes that are rushing forward without public consultation or intergovernmental oversight,” said Neth Dano of Malaysia-based Third World Network.


“This technology is dangerous and unacceptable because it could imperil our marine environment – the main source of survival and livelihood for poor fisherfolk in the Philippines,” said Ruperto Aleroza, chair of Kilusang Mangingisda – a fisherfolk movement in the Philippines. “Under Philippine law, experiments like this must undergo environmental impact assessment and the communities that would be affected must give informed consent. Proponents of this technology must comply with these laws and the Philippine government must enforce them,” said Aleroza.


They argue that urea dumping could tackle climate change and push up fish stocks. However, international scientific bodies, including the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have warned that toxic tides and lifeless oceans might instead result from such geo-engineering activities.


1 comment:

Joyce said...

I'd bet a million dollars that it's a bad idea. Anything that upsets the delicate balance of any ecosystem is foolish and how could dumping urea in the ocean not do that?!