Wednesday, May 29, 2013

June Haida OIF Test Postponed Indefinitely

Hot off the heels of removing Russ George as CEO (see Haida Boot Russ George, 5/25), the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC), controlled by the Village of Old Massett, has cancelled a second OIF field test scheduled for June.  "I can't say if it will be done again ever.  I won't know until we get the results of the strategic review," said chief councillor Ken Rea, referring to a corporate review being conducted in the aftermath of George's abrupt termination.  For his part, George is contesting his removal as a director of HSRC, claiming that his private company Ocean Pastures owns 48% of HSRC shares and is therefore entitled to two of the four board seats.  According to George, "I shall remain a director of the HSRC and look forward to moving the business plan of the company forward."  George is not, however, disputing his removal as CEO.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Haida Boot Russ George

Days after publishing a curious opinion piece/sales pitch about the supposed success of OIF "ecoengineering" off Haida Gwaii, Russ George has been fired as CEO of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC).  The board of directors removed George as a director, terminated his employment, and named current president John Disney as interim CEO.  Disney has been a strong backer of the project all along, but evidently George's antics proved too much for him and other leaders of the Haida Village of Old Massett, which controls the company.  As Disney put it,  "While we are confident in the technology, process and buy-in are key.  That's why our emphasis is putting the right leadership and business plan in place."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New London Protocol Proposal to Regulate Marine Geoengineering

Australia, Nigeria, and South Korea have jointly proposed amendments to the London Protocol (LP) that would formally extend the instrument's remit beyond ocean fertilization to include other possible forms of marine geoengineering (such as enhanced weathering or ocean liming).  The proposal defines "marine geoengineering" broadly as "deliberate intervention in the marine environment to manipulate natural processes, including to counteract anthropogenic climate change and/or its impacts, and that has the potential for widespread, long-lasting or severe effects."  A new annex to the Protocol would serve as a "positive list" specifying particular geoengineering techniques to be regulated under the LP; techniques not included on this list would remain subject to the regime's general prohibition on dumping of materials at sea.  The only activity listed in the proposed annex is ocean fertilization, which would continue to be permitted only in cases of "legitimate scientific research."  The proposal also includes a generic assessment framework (modeled on the existing Assessment Framework for ocean fertilization--see LC/LP Agrees on Ocean Fertilization Assessment Framework, 10/19/10) intended to serve as the basis for more specific frameworks used to arrive at permitting decisions for other geoengineering approaches added to the annex in the future.

In essence, this proposal establishes a procedural mechanism for regulating any geoengineering technique involving the introduction of materials to the sea, based on processes previously developed to address ocean fertilization.  Since the proposal takes the form of amendments to the London Protocol, if it is adopted, regulations covering ocean fertilization and other technologies would be legally binding rather than voluntary, as is currently the case with respect to operative resolutions on ocean fertilization.  Parties to the LC/LP will take up the proposal at a meeting this October.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

UAE Accelerates Cloud Seeding

In recent months the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has dramatically increased the pace of cloud seeding operations.  Although the government launched a small-scale rainfall enhancement program ten years ago that grew gradually over the past decade, the number of cloud seeding flights in 2013 already surpasses all operations in 2012 by more than 30 percent.  In the month of April alone, the UAE's National Center for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) conducted 47 separate missions.  Operations typically involve four airplanes firing flares containing salt crystals (potassium chloride and sodium chloride) in an attempt to induce increased rainfall.  The government is seeking to boost dwindling water supplies in the desert country.