Climos Home
   About Climos
   Science Advisory
   Climos Press
   Climos Notes
   Outside News
   Climos In The News
   Recent Science
   Climos Publications
   Upcoming Events
UK Guardian: Bob Watson Warns Of 4C Temp Rise
26 August, 2008 by dan

The UK should take active steps to prepare for dangerous climate change of perhaps 4C according to one of the government’s chief scientific advisers.

In policy areas such as flood protection, agriculture and coastal erosion Professor Bob Watson said the country should plan for the effects of a 4C global average rise on pre-industrial levels. The EU is committed to limiting emissions globally so that temperatures do not rise more than 2C.

“There is no doubt that we should aim to limit changes in the global mean surface temperature to 2C above pre-industrial,” Watson, the chief scientific adviser to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told the Guardian. “But given this is an ambitious target, and we don’t know in detail how to limit greenhouse gas emissions to realise a 2 degree target, we should be prepared to adapt to 4C.”

New Articles In Geoengineering Roundtable
26 August, 2008 by kevin

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has two new entries in the Geoengineering Roundtable. This brings a total of ten articles by preeminent scientists in the geoengineering debate.


Designing a geoengineering research agenda should be a group effort
Dan Whaley and Margaret Leinen of Climos.

We should plan for the worst-case climate scenario
Ken Caldeira of Stanford University.

Popular Science Article On OIF
26 August, 2008 by kevin

Popular Science provides a nice post-mortem on Planktos, which ceased operations last February. The story of Planktos is a good example of the need for effective regulation of OIF activities under the London Convention.

The last page of the article has some nice coverage of Climos and the way forward with OIF. There are quotes by Dr. Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and by Dan Whaley and Margaret Leinen of Climos.

Popular Science: “Carbon Discredit

Sahara Dust Essential For Iron Fertilization Of Atlantic
26 August, 2008 by kevin

A new paper in Nature Geoscience highlights the importance of iron fertilization from dust storms blowing off the Sahara coast.  The dust “sustains life” in the tropical North Atlantic ocean by enhancing the growth of nitrogen-fixing phytoplankton that require iron.

Read the press release in Science Daily.

Read the abstract in Nature Geoscience.

Amazon River Powers Carbon Sequestration
26 August, 2008 by kevin

A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academies shows that nutrient-rich discharge greatly enhances the biological pump mechanism of carbon sequestration. The sequestration happens as the discharge plume enters deep water off the continental shelf, where excess iron, phosphorous, and silica stimulate diatoms and nitrogen-fixing diazotrophs. The measured carbon sequestration rates are very high in the area of the discharge plume.

Read the paper in PNAS (free download).

Read an article from the National Science Foundation.

Ocean Alkalinity Modification Proposal Funded By Shell Oil
26 August, 2008 by kevin

Shell Oil has funded a proposal by Cquestrate to investigate atmospheric carbon removal by adding lime to sea water. This process is heavily energy intensive, but could still be cost-effective near oil fields that have un-utilized natural gas resources. Instead of flaring the gas, it could be harnessed to create lime from limestone. Notably, the company developing this proccess plans to use an “Open Source” development process so that anyone can use the technology.

Read a Wired article on the process.

Read about the open source methodology, and visit the company’s website.

Physics Today On Geoengineering
26 August, 2008 by kevin

In “Will desperate climates call for desperate geoegineering measures?“, Physics Today surveys the rationale for researching geoengineering, and discusses the prominent areas of research. Noteworthy is the opinion of Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the US National Academy of Sciences, who favors research before widespread implementation and highlights “the need for a qualified agency to oversee the design, implementation, and monitoring of experiments.”


Christian Science Monitor Covers Geoengineering
17 July, 2008 by Kevin

The Christian Science Monitor published this article, "Can we engineer a cooler Earth?", which discusses the need for geoengineering as a stop-gap approach until the world can implement meaningful CO2 emissions cuts. Also mentioned is the need to begin researching how geoengineering could be conducted responsibly. 

Earth2Tech On Planktos
7 July, 2008 by dan

Katie Fehrenbacher at Earth2Tech covers the relaunch of Planktos under "".

She notes: "If Planktos Science wants to be a serious company, they should get some serious PR help.

Read it here
Time Magazine Covers OIF And Climos
3 July, 2008 by kevin

The July 3rd edition of Time Magazine has a story on OIF and other technologies to actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The story goes into significant detail on the reasons why CO2 sequestration is important, and on how OIF would accomplish this. Climos is covered, including a quote by Dr. Margaret Leinen.

Time: “Picking Up A Mop

Popular Science Article On OIF
3 July, 2008 by kevin

Popular Science Popular Science provides a nice post-mortem on Planktos, which ceased operations last February. The story of Planktos is a good example of the need for effective regulation of OIF activities under the London Convention.

The last page of the article has some nice coverage of Climos and the way forward with OIF. There are quotes by Dr. Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and by Dan Whaley and Margaret Leinen of Climos.

Popular Science: "Carbon Discredit"

Dan Whaley Interview By The Sustainable Industries Journal
3 July, 2008 by kevin

The Sustainable Industries Journal is a monthly publication on green business innovation. The July issue is focused on Clean Tech.

Read the interview.

Council Of Biological Diversity Final Statement On OIF
3 July, 2008 by kevin

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in May at the Ninth Conference of the Parties. OIF was a hotly debated topic. The official statement on OIF has been posted online, pending final approval. The CBD statement recognizes that the London Convention is the primary UN body with regulatory capability OIF. The CBD also recommends that further OIF research only be conducted in coastal waters, and in the absence of any commercial activity.

Statement by the CBD on OIF (see section C.)

It is interesting to note that the International Oceangraphic Commission (IOC) amended their recent submission on OIF to the London Convention Scientific Group in response to the CBD statement. The IOC amendment addresses the scientific basis behind the CBD recommendations, suggesting that there is “no scientific basis for limiting such experiments to coastal environments,” and that “small scale” is a relative term.

IOC recommendation on OIF (see Section III)

Royal Society Paper On OIF As A Means Of Geoengineering Accepted
23 June, 2008 by dan

A review paper on ocean fertilization techniques, their ability to sequester carbon and their potential side effects was recently requested by UK policymakers.  Dr. Richard Lampitt of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK and a group of coauthors from the ocean research community completed the review paper, which has been accepted for publication in The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society :

A copy of the accepted paper is available here.

Ocean Fertilisation: a potential means of geo-engineering?

Lampitt R.S., Achterberg E.P., Anderson T.R., Hughes J.A., Iglesias-Rodriguez M.D., Kelly-Gerreyn B.A., Lucas M*., Popova E.E., Sanders R., Shepherd J.G., Smythe-Wright D., Yool A.

The oceans sequester carbon from the atmosphere partly as a result of biological productivity. Over much of the ocean surface this productivity is limited by essential nutrients and we discuss whether it is likely that sequestration can be enhanced by supplying limiting nutrients. Various methods of supply have been suggested and we discuss the efficacy of each and the potential side effects that may develop as a result. Our conclusion is that these methods have the potential to enhance sequestration but that the current level of knowledge from the observations and modelling carried out to date does not provide a sound foundation on which to make clear predictions or recommendations. For ocean fertilisation to become a viable option to sequester CO2 we need more extensive and targeted field work and better mathematical models of ocean biogeochemical processes. Models are needed both to interpret field observations and to make reliable predictions about the side effects of large scale fertilisation. They would also be an essential tool with which to verify that sequestration has effectively taken place. There is considerable urgency to address climate change mitigation and this demands that new field work plans are developed rapidly. In contrast to previous experiments, these must focus on the specific objective which is to assess the possibilities of CO2 sequestration through fertilisation.

IOC Concerned About Recent CBD Statement On OIF
19 June, 2008 by dan

A Statement on Ocean Iron Fertilization (OIF) by the IOC Ad-hoc consultative group on OIF was released in advance of next week’s meeting

Next week the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) meets in Paris for the 41st session of the Executive Council.  The IOC is a part of UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  Approximately 230 Delegates from 53 nations will participate.

In preparation for this meeting,  the IOC Ad-hoc Consultative Group on OIF released a response to the recent statement by the Convention on Biological Diversity.   This is attached.


III. ADDENDUM (June 14, 2008): Response to the statement of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity on Ocean Fertilization Activities (30 May 2008)

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) ad hoc Consultative Group on Ocean Fertilization is concerned that the statement on ocean fertilization activities issued by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity in Bonn on 30 May 2008 places unnecessary and undue restriction on legitimate scientific activities.

The statement reads, in part, “[The Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biodiversity (COP of the CBD)] … urges other Governments, in accordance with the precautionary approach, to ensure that ocean fertilization activities do not take place until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities, including assessing associated risks, and a global transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanism is in place for these activities; with the exception of small scale research studies within coastal waters.”

The IOC ad hoc Consultative Group on Ocean Fertilization notes that:

(1) The COP of the CBD recognizes “the ongoing scientific and legal analysis [of ocean fertilization] occurring under the auspices of the London Convention (1972) and the 1996 London Protocol.”

(2) The CBD proposes that “ocean fertilization activities do not take place until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities, …with the exception of small scale scientific research studies within coastal waters.” The restriction of experiments to coastal waters appears to be a new, arbitrary, and counterproductive limitation. The most useful ocean fertilization experiments to date have been performed in open ocean environments, as this is where marine productivity is most commonly limited by micronutrients. There is no scientific basis for limiting such experiments to coastal environments.

(3) There are good scientific reasons to do larger experiments, including diminishing dilution near the center of the experimental area and obtaining better data relating to vertical transport processes. “Small scale” is a relative term. A circle 200 km in diameter would cover less than one ten-thousandth of the ocean.

(4) We are concerned about the phrase in the CBD statement “global transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanism … for these activities”. We assume that “these activities” refers to ocean fertilization activities for the purpose of introducing additional carbon dioxide into the ocean, as distinct from purposes such as legitimate scientific investigation. It would be helpful if this phrase were clarified to make this important distinction evident

(5) Preservation of biodiversity in marine systems may require good scientific information from manipulative experiments in the open ocean. A careful science-based “assessment of associated risks” depends on knowledge that could be gained by further experimentation.

(6) It is essential for sound and unbiased scientific advice to be available to intergovernmental deliberations on the issue of ocean fertilization both to protect the marine environment and to ensure that marine scientific research is not unnecessarily hindered. The IOC should continue to provide scientific advice to the London Convention Scientific Group, as well as other international or intergovernmental deliberations, as requested.

The Ad-Hoc Group is:
Ken Caldeira (Chair), Carnegie Institute of Washington, Stanford, USA; Philip Boyd, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand; Ulf Reibesell, Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Germany; Christopher Sabine, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA; Andrew Watson, University of East Anglia, UK.

As a part of the Executive Council meeting, Dr. Maria Hood of the IOC, will present an update to the delegates on the recent IMO London Convention Scientific Group meeting in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  The abstract for her session is as follows:

Report on the IMO London Convention Scientific Group Meeting on Ocean Iron Fertilization

IOC Programme Specialist in the Ocean Sciences Section, Dr Maria Hood, will introduce this item. Given the prominence and impact of the IPCC Assessment Report 4, the successful positioning by the UN of the Climate Change issue on top of the international agenda, and in view of the ongoing negotiations for a post 2012 agreement on the Climate Change regime under UNFCCC, ocean iron fertlization has received renewed attention. DECISION 4.3.5: The Executive Council will be invited to provide any guidance it deems desirable to the Executive Secretary to pursue the development of sound and unbiased scientific advice to support the London Convention Scientific Group’s work on ocean fertilization as requested, as well as any other general guidance with respect to this issue and to report on developments and environmental implications of ocean CO2 sequestration to the Member States.

  IOC/INF-1247: Report on the IMO London Convention Scientific Group Meeting on Ocean Fertilization

About the IOC

The IOC was created in 1960 to promote international cooperation and coordinate programmes in research, sustainable development, protection of the marine environment, capacity-building for improved management, and decision-making. It assists developing countries in strengthening their institutions to obtain self-driven sustainability in marine sciences. On a regional level, it is coordinating the development of tsunami early warning and mitigation systems in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. It also facilitates interagency coordination through the UN-Oceans mechanism and works with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in establishing a process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment. Through the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)—the ocean component of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)—the IOC helps improve operational oceanography, weather and climate forecasts and monitoring and support the sustained observing needs of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

About the 41st Session of the IOC Executive Council

The IOC Executive Council elected in 2007 will meet at the IOC Headquarters in Paris on 24 June – 1 July 2008. The forty Member States that will convene for the 41st session of the Executive Council will have in front of them a rich and challenging agenda. They will consider the results of the first session of the Working Group on the Future of IOC, tasked with identifying options for enhancing the role of IOC in terms of institutional arrangements, financial resources, and relations with other intergovernmental and international organizations. The Executive Council will also discuss and adopt a programme of activities for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of IOC in 2010 that will take stock of the achievements of the Commission as well as current and future needs in terms of ocean science, observations and capacity-building. Among other items on the agenda before the Executive Council include an Operational Plan for the 2008–2009 biennium, the identification of possible activities in the area of marine ecosystems, and the coordination of regional tsunami early warning systems.

Dan Whaley Interviewed On The BBC
18 June, 2008 by kevin

Last week, the BBC aired a 20 minute radio show by Peter Day on various entrepreneurial activities to sequester atmospheric CO2.  Climos CEO, Dan Whaley, was interviewed at length on ocean iron fertilization and Climos.

You can dowload the full podcast here.

Dr. Leinen Speaks At “The Risks And Opportunities Of Climate Change” Conference
18 June, 2008 by kevin

At The Risks and Opportunities of Climate Change conference yesterday, Dr. Margaret Leinen presented on Climos and Ocean Iron Fertilization. The video podcast of her talk is available here. Margaret appears at minute 45 of the podcast. Her first slide is #72.

Wally Broecker Op-Ed To Greenpeace In The UK Guardian
18 June, 2008 by dan

Online here

Wallace S Broecker
The Guardian

Wednesday June 18 2008

Deep Divisions

One of the world’s leading climate scientists challenges Greenpeace’s opposition to storing CO2 in the depth of the oceans.

Most of us who are concerned about global warming agree that an important part of any strategy designed to stem the ongoing build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will be to capture and store CO2. Potential storage sites include spent oil fields, saline aquifers, layered basalts and the deep ocean.

While Greenpeace accepts the inevitability that CO2 will be captured and stored, it strongly opposes storage in the deep sea. As it is clear that virtually all the CO2 released to the atmosphere as a result of fossil fuel burning will ultimately find its way to the deep sea, its objection is focused on the “point pollution” created by purposeful injections of CO2. The fear is that such an activity will put at risk benthic biota - the community of creatures and plants in the deep sea - living in the vicinity of the injection sites.

In February 2007, I contacted Bill Hare, a senior scientist at Greenpeace, asking him to reconsider his organisation’s stance against experiments to evaluate the environmental consequences of CO2 injected into the deep sea. I pointed out that if marine disposal proves to be economically favorable, and if push comes to shove, forces more powerful than Greenpeace will probably intervene and deep sea disposal will commence without adequate testing and evaluation.

Hare agreed to reconsider this matter in consultation with members of his and other like-minded organisations. In June 2007, he reported back that no change in policy would be made.

As a scientist, I seek rational decisions. So let me begin by outlining what is known about deep ocean storage.

First, in order to ensure that the injected CO2 has adequate time to mix throughout the deep sea, injection should be at depths greater than 3,500 metres - that is, the depth below which “liquid” CO2 becomes more dense than sea water.

Experiments conducted by Peter Brewer, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, not only confirm that this is the case but also demonstrate that the CO2 injected rapidly reacts with sea water to form a solid clathrate, which is more dense than both liquid CO2 and sea water. Hence, the injected CO2 would end up on the sea floor as a slush. This would gradually dissolve, releasing the CO2 to the surrounding sea water, where it would react with the dissolved carbonate and borate ions to become chemically bound in the form of bicarbonate ion. As the concentration of carbonate and borate ions is small, the neutralisation would take place gradually as the CO2-rich sea water mixed into the surroundings.

We know that, based on radiocarbon measurements, the residence time of water in the abyssal Atlantic is in the order of 200 years. For the Indian Ocean, it is about 800 years, and for the Pacific about 1,000 years. As the deep Pacific has the largest volume, and is adjacent to earthquake-prone land areas where below-ground storage could not be safely done, it will be a prime target for storage.

A conservative upper limit on the storage capacity of the deep Pacific would be to require that the CO2 concentration in the water returning to the surface not be allowed to exceed the concentration in cold surface water at equilibrium with the atmosphere. Were this the limit to be adopted, then the capacity of water deeper than 1,500 metres in the Pacific would be about 480 gigatons of CO2, or about 130 gigatons of carbon for each 100 parts per million rise in atmospheric CO2 content.

We know enough to say with confidence that deep ocean disposal of CO2 is certainly feasible, but unless small-scale pilot experiments are conducted, information necessary to assess the impact on the macro abyssal biota will remain obscure. The injections could be made from ships equipped for deep sea drilling, and if the CO2 were tagged with radiocarbon, its dispersal away from the sea floor clathrate pile could be sensitively monitored.

Studies of the costs associated with ocean disposal would also be conducted. The CO2 would have to be sent through pipelines from its collection point to a port, where it would be loaded on tankers that would carry it to a floating ocean station, from which it would be piped to the abyss.

Putting aside the opposition by the environmental community, ocean disposal will become a viable option only if the costs are competitive with those associated with storage in hyper-saline continental aquifers.

Reduce stress

As any strategy designed to stem the build-up of greenhouse gases will have adverse environmental consequences, we must seek to minimise their impact. To the extent that we could capture and store CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning, we would reduce the acidification of the surface ocean, and hence the additional stress on coral reef communities. To date, there is no indication that the projected rise in upper ocean CO2 content will have adverse impacts on fish. If so, assuming the limit described above were to be observed, then once spread through the deep sea, the injected CO2 would not adversely impact on benthic biota.

However, I sympathise with those who claim that the benthic world is a fragile one. Hence, before we poke it with CO2, we should do our homework. Therefore, I challenge Greenpeace to relax its stand and allow a pilot project to proceed.

· Wallace S Broecker is the Newberry professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, US, and is a scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth observatory.

Post-Kyoto Climate Change Agreement Will Have Expanded Market Mechanisms
13 June, 2008 by kevin

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, published this commentary on the status of the “Post-Kyoto” climate change agreement. In it, he says that negotiators on the post-Kyoto climate framework still prefer the CDM and market mechanisms as one of the policy solutions to curbing climate change. He writes, “it is clear that expanded, market-based mechanisms will play a central role.” This is good news for carbon offsets, which have been under fire of late. Coverage Of Climos W/ Comments From Ken Buesseler
12 June, 2008 by dan

Carla Gheffi’s article at available here.

A reasonable article.  We note Ken Buesseler’s comments:

According to Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist of marine chemistry and geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, scientists have been clear on the fact that the next experiments need to be bigger and larger, regardless if they are commercially funded.

Buesseler is the main scientist who organized meeting last November to provide an update on the science of OIF. Buesseler said he was trying to be a neutral ground to discuss the issues.

As a scientist, Buesseler is interested in how the scientific community can play its part and help reduce uncertainties of technology like OIF. “As a scientist, we can answer these questions. There’s potential,” he told the Cleantech Group.

“Some people seem philosophically opposed form the start,” continued Buesseler. “I think it’s an open question.”

According to Buesseler, so far there have been 12 open ocean experiments, ranging from 1-4 weeks, with 1-2 tons of elemental iron, and over approximately 10 x 10 km in the ocean.

Buesseler said the scientific community would like to expand the experiments to 100 x 100 km, using 10-20 tons of iron so they can see the full growth cycle of plankton and find out where the carbon actually ends up (the bottom of the ocean, or at the surface).

When asked who the people are who have voiced their opposition to OIF, Buesseler said they are the ones who are fundamentally opposed to doing anything to the ocean, which is something he personally disagrees with.

“We’re already changing the ocean,” said Buesseler. “You can’t avoid altering the ocean by continuing to drive cars and emitting CO2. The ocean will change no matter what.”

“One argument against OIF is if you take to the extreme and take every square inch of the ocean and alter it. That’s unacceptable.”

<<Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |  Next>>
Carbon Market (4)
Climate Change Science (23)
Geoengineering (28)
New Science (5)
Carbon Politics and Legislation (2)
Ocean Fertilization (65)
  © CLIMOS™ 2008