Sunday, April 28, 2013

Haida Fighting Back, Preparing for More Fertilization

After having data and samples related to its 2012 OIF dumping expedition seized by Environment Canada last month (see Haida Investigation Proceeding in Canada, 3/30), the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) has struck back with a legal motion to suspend the federal search warrants authorizing the seizures.  Lawyers affiliated with HSRC argue that the March raids were unconstitutional since there is no Canadian law applicable to ocean iron fertilization.  Environment Canada has responded that ocean fertilization is indeed illegal under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

The HSRC is anxious for the return of these materials because it regards them as necessary for the conduct of a baseline study in May followed by a second round of dumping in June.  "But I can't see them getting away with this again," says Jim Thomas of ETC Group.  Hopefully the irony of an organization that views itself as a prime defender of indigenous rights, accusing a First Nations company of deception and illegality, is not entirely lost on the group.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Washington State Report Weighs in on CDR Techniques

Sweetening the Waters, a recent report on ocean acidification commissioned by the Washington state government, offers brief assessments of several CDR technologies as possible carbon sequestration methods.  Its primary focus in this regard is ocean iron fertilization (OIF), not surprising given Washington's proximity to Haida Gwaii in British Columbia.  In the view of the report's author,

No one in the scientific community (as opposed to "rogue geoengineer" Russ George) seems to argue that ocean iron fertilization is ready for commercial implementation yet.  Many believe that it deserves and demands more ocean trials, especially following the EIFEX results.  At some point they will have to consider more than the iron in the diatoms' diet--and reconsider not just the desirability but the feasibility of stimulating sinking plankton blooms. (p. 45)

The report also considers enhanced weathering: "Accelerated weathering seems a promising concept, especially when coupled with marine carbonate mitigation.  It may be ready to move from the laboratory to real-world trials.  But however much Washington's waters might benefit from such efforts, the economics don't favor them here as much as in other states" (pp. 46-47).  The document provides no new insights, but it does reflect the continuing spread of geoengineering concepts at the subnational level.