Take Two for October 17, 2012

Rogue geoengineering experiment in the Pacific Ocean draws criticism

geoengineering

Giovanni/Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center/NASA

Yellow and brown colors show relatively high concentrations of chlorophyll in August 2012, after iron sulphate was dumped into the Pacific Ocean as part of a controversial geoengineering scheme.

If the idea of genetically modifying foods is polarizing, what about the idea of modifying the earth's climate?

That controversial topic is on the agenda of a UN environmental summit in India this week, where they'll be taking up the curious case of Russ George.

He's a California businessman who, along with a private company, secretly dumped 100 tons of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Canada last July.

The technique, known as ocean fertilization, uses iron sulphate to stimulate plankton growth. In turn, the plankton absorb carbon dioxide then sink to the bottom of the ocean.

It's considered to be the world's largest geoengineering experiment, but it violates a United Nations moratoria on such projects.

Here to talk about what exactly this all means is Michael Specter, staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of the book, "Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives."


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