Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New ISIS Consortium Launches

The in situ iron studies (ISIS) Consortium for ocean iron fertilization (OIF) research has officially launched. ISIS is a group of twelve universities and research centers from around the world which will cooperate to study different aspects of OIF, including its sequestration potential and environmental impacts. The Consortium will conduct large-scale, long-term experiments in the open ocean, as well as observational and modeling studies. The stated purpose of ISIS is to provide a stronger scientific foundation for possible OIF deployment.

ISIS represents an attempt to gain greater legitimacy for OIF. Research has been dominated up to now by private firms such as Planktos and Climos, whose commercial interests have made their work questionable in the eyes of critics. The ISIS Consortium is noncommercial and its membership is primarily academic. ISIS has also pledged to comply with OIF research protocols currently being developed under the London Convention/London Protocol (LC/LP). Despite these efforts, it is doubtful whether opponents of geoengineering such as ETC Group will lessen their hostility toward OIF.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dutch Give in on Carbon Storage

The Dutch government has abandoned plans for carbon storage (CS) in the northern Netherlands, in response to growing local opposition. Plans called for storing CO2 in empty natural gas chambers in three northern provinces, but protests forced cancellation of the project. The Netherlands has not given up on CS entirely, however, as the government now proposes storing carbon in offshore gas chambers. This sort of NIMBYism is likely to drive other CS projects offshore as well, in the Netherlands and beyond.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Negative Newsweek Story

Newsweek has run a piece titled "A Climate Cure's Dark Side." As the name implies, the article is unkind toward geoengineering, reporting that stratospheric aerosol injections threaten Asian monsoons, marine cloud whitening threatens the Amazon, and geoengineering cannot cool the Arctic. The story is essentially a preview of the next issue of Atmospheric Science Letters, evidently focused on geoengineering.

These upcoming articles must be considered objectively on their own merits, and should not be prejudged. However, the Newsweek story appears to be the product of a discussion restricted to its author and contributors to the upcoming geoengineering issue, an issue which seems to come down firmly on the side of geoengineering skeptics. It will be interesting to read these articles, and it will also be interesting to learn more about their origins.