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.

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