Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LC/LP Agrees on Ocean Fertilization Assessment Framework

Last week, the London Convention/London Protocol (LC/LP) formally adopted an "Assessment Framework for Scientific Research Involving Ocean Fertilization." Development of this framework was set in motion by a 2008 resolution accepting the value of "legitimate scientific research" on ocean fertilization, but stipulating that "scientific research proposals should be assessed on a case-by-case basis using an assessment framework to be developed by the Scientific Groups under the London Convention and Protocol." The Assessment Framework is a stepwise evaluation tool summarized by the following LC/LP figure:
One of the more interesting issues associated with the Assessment Framework is how it will affect ongoing deliberations on geoengineering more broadly within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), where a prohibition is currently under consideration (see "Moratorium on Geoengineering Proposed at CBD.") In 2008, parties to the CBD agreed "to ensure that ocean fertilization activities do not take place until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities" (an exception was made for research in coastal waters). The LC/LP Assessment Framework appears to fill this void. However, the CBD also requires an effective governance mechanism for ocean fertilization to proceed, and has been silent up to now on other climate intervention techniques.

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