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French Students Ask About OIF

Some french students sent an inquiry about OIF... here are my responses:

On Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 3:13 AM, Justine KLINGELSCHMIDT <> wrote:

Thanks a lot for your answer, Mr Whaley. We are conscious that you are a key actor on this issue and we really appreciate to have your point of view . I send you the list of question.

1) First of all, could you tell us more about your professional background?
about your research concerning the oceans?

I have a degree in English.  My background is in high-tech.  However, my mother--Margaret Leinen--was an oceanographer.  I grew up around oceanography, worked on two JGOFS transects taking core samples of the oceans, I first learned how to program developing software for a cryogenic magnetometer, etc.

I would say I have a grounding in the fundamentals.  However, i am NOT a scientist.

2) Given the results of all the scientific experiments (LOHAFEX,...), are you
still considering ocean fertilization as an effective way to fight global

I think that LOHAFEX showed us that diatoms need silicon to grow.  Our analysis is attached.  Also, on our home page, you can download the "Why OIF" document.  This provides a good grounding in why I think it makes sense to pursue further research into OIF.

3) The LOHAFEX expperiment has been charged by some environmental groups with
being a "dangerous geo-engineering project that violated the UN restrictions".
Why do you think this experiment raised such a controversy?

The LOHAFEX project did not violate the UN restrictions.  The ETC Group made statements to this effect in an effort to shut the project down.  These groups simply do not like the thought of this research taking place.  From what I have seen these are more emotional arguments rather than logical ones.  Many of the statements they have made in their press releases are factually incorrect, and quite misleading.  I don't think ETC has a lot of credibility with the major players.  Greenpeace has acknowledged the legitimate reasons for the research to take place, and suggested much of the language that is currently in the LC resolution.

4) What about the institutional framework (UN Conventions: London Convention,
Convention on Biological Diversity...)? Is it clear enough or should it be

We are extremely happy with the London Convention's work in this area.  They are nearly finished with a rigorous Risk Management Framework for OIF project.  This will provide the structure needed by the larger research projects that move forward.  The CBD is not a regulatory body.  My feeling is that their role here is largely symbolic.  They have acknowledged the work that the LC is doing, and seem to be subordinate to that.  Remember, they are both UN bodies.

5) Is it difficult for the States to come to an agreement about ocean

By the States, do you mean the United States?  I think the regulatory authority to develop a framework lies with the LC.  The US is a signatory to the convention. 
6) Since you know well CLIMOS, one question about it: some say that
geo-ingineering companies like CLIMOS are violating the precautionary
principle, and do not pay enough attention to the potential side-effects on long term. What can you argue against that?

Climos is a research services company at present.  Our goal is to help provide the support for these larger more complex research efforts to take place.  Ultimately, we think there are important questions that need to be answered about this technique--including, what the potential impacts might be.  How can this be a violation of the precautionary principle?

Category: Ocean Fertilization
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