News24

Canada outcry over ocean fertilisation

2012-10-19 11:02

Ottawa - Canada's lone Green Party member of parliament, Elizabeth May, decried the so-called "ocean fertilisation" of the Pacific with what she claimed was Ottawa's tacit approval.

The government however denied any involvement.

May pointed to an article in the British newspaper The Guardian in which California businessman Russ George said he conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test recently, dumping 100 tons of iron sulphate off British Columbia's coast in a geo-engineering experiment.

The iron has reportedly spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10 000km2. The aim was twofold: Enriching the food chain and increasing sea life for a region that depends on fishing and hoping the plankton will absorb carbon dioxide.

May accused the Canadian government of knowing about the project and letting it happen, but authorities denied any involvement and said they have launched an investigation.

UN criticism


"This kind of experiment is very, very risky business. Scientists have warned us it can destroy oceanic ecosystems, create toxic tides, and aggravate ocean acidification and global warming," May said in a statement. "The long-term absorption of carbon dioxide in water is also contested.

"The fact that federal officials may have known about this and let it happen is disturbing. Have they allowed a Californian rogue investor to play with fire at the expense of Canada's environment?"

The experiment was also harshly criticised at a key UN meeting of 70 environment ministers in Hyderabad, India on halting the depletion of Earth's natural resources.

Adam Sweet, spokesperson for Environment Minister Peter Kent, said that company representatives met with Environment Canada officials in May and "were informed that any iron ore deposit in waters, whether inside or outside the Canadian [200 nautical miles] limit, constitutes a violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act", unless it is for the purpose of legitimate research.

The company made no request for a dumping permit, he added, and the enforcement branch of Environment Canada launched an investigation on 30 August into an alleged incident.

Comments
  • stirrer.stirrer - 2012-10-19 11:52

    This was truly idiotic. While enhanced plankton growth could be beneficial, it could have had the opposite effect, where the plankton multiplies to such an extent that it depletes the area of oxygen so that the plankton dies and causes a toxic "red tide", killing off all marine life.

  • Eterni80 - 2012-10-19 11:56

    man plans - nature laughs - slightly modified but you get the point.

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-10-19 12:03

    Nothing satisfies these Greenies... only the total extinction of the human species will make them happy it seems.

      robbie.crouch - 2012-10-19 13:20

      @ Dennis... do you really know me? Green initiatives have also caused a lot of misery, just ask those living near wind farms.

      jason.sole.92 - 2012-10-19 14:16

      Robbie - if your comment is an indication of what mind cultivated it, then I would say Denis is spot on. This saying also truly applies to you "Rather keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool then open it and remove all doubt". Maybe you should comment on sport and racing cars, something less intellectual.

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-10-19 15:07

      Robbie, I suppose you are talking about the "Not in my back yard" kind of misery. No other misery that wind farms cause that modern science knows of.

      eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-10-19 15:15

      Robbie - You don't have to be a greenie in order to understand the affects the "small scale experiment" will eventually have in the not so far future for the human kind. Mother Nature has her own balance which she keeps for humans, animal and marine alike. These so-called self enrichment plans is as sickening as the cloning of human parts, all in the name of science but in the pockets of the greedy and power thirsty as-holes.

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