Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Planktos Sets Sail

Got out of town on a boat
Goin' to Southern islands.
Sailing a reach
Before a followin' sea....

Curtis, Curtis & Stills

From the New York Times:

The WeatherBird II, a 115-foot private research vessel, has put to sea from Florida as part of a novel and contentious effort to commercialize the removal of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by triggering blooms of plankton.

...But efforts to replicate the process artificially have met with strong opposition from some environmental groups.

These include the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which for years has confronted, and sometimes rammed, whaling and fishing vessels. It had also planned to try to block a fertilization effort by Planktos this summer near the Galapagos Islands, but the company delayed that project for a variety of reasons, officials said.

...This year, the president of Friends of the Earth, Brent Blackwelder, issued a statement saying, “Planktos is selling the equivalent of global warming snake oil.”

...[UPDATE: An Australian company with a different technique for boosting plankton growth — adding urea to the sea — has evidently gained permission from the Philippines to do a field test in the Sulu Sea, raising objections from some private groups and bloggers.]