191 Nations Torpedo “Ocean-Fertilization” False Solution

it appears the forces of sanity have won this one!

see ya planktos / climos etc!

~b

The World Torpedoes Ocean Fertilization:
End of Round One on Geo-Engineering.
191 countries agree landmark moratorium on ocean CO2 sequestration.

As the ninth meeting of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity
(CBD) draws to a close in Bonn, Germany the world’s governments are
set to unanimously agree a wide-ranging “de-facto moratorium” on ocean
fertilization activities. This first-ever global decision on a geo-
engineering technology should spell the end of commercial plans to
sequester carbon dioxide by dumping nutrients into the open ocean.
Nonetheless one ocean fertilization company, Climos Inc of San
Francisco, appears to be moving full steam ahead in defiance of
international consensus.

“The message from the UN Biodiversity Convention is clear. The world
does not want commercial ocean fertilization and companies like Climos
should be looking for another occupation” says Pat Mooney, Executive
Director of ETC Group, who is in Bonn at the negotiations. “Ocean
fertilization could lead to toxic tides, lifeless waters and disrupted
ecosystems and livelihoods. There is unanimous agreement among the 191
countries here that It is absolutely the wrong way to tackle climate
change.”

German Environment Minister and CBD president Sigmar Gabrielle
announced this morning that an agreement on the “de-facto moratorium”
had been reached following ministerial level discussion.  That
agreement requests countries “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.” The moratorium makes a limited exception for small
scale scientific research, but it warns that such studies should only
be authorized ” if justified by the need to gather specific scientific
data, and should also be subject to a thorough prior assessment of the
potential impacts of the research studies on the marine environment,
and be strictly controlled,  and not be used for generating and
selling carbon offsets or any other commercial purposes.”

African countries, especially Ghana, led the negotiations towards the
moratorium, supported strongly by European, South East Asian and some
Latin American nations. The United States, the only country left
openly supporting ocean fertilization, is not a signatory to the
Convention.

“This moratorium is particularly a victory for Southern countries who
have been repeatedly targeted by the ocean fertilization companies in
the hope that they wouldn’t understand the threats that these
experiments imply” explains Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group’s Mexico
Office “Civil society, Peoples movements and fisherfolk in countries
such as Ecuador and Philippines have led the global opposition to
these outrageous schemes. Now their governments have stepped up to the
challenge of dumping ocean fertilization – hopefully for good. The
unananimous decision in Bonn explicitly confines scientific
experimentation to coastal waters, meaning that national governments
would have to consent to experiments literally within almost within
sight of land. The NIMBY principle (not in my backyard) will make such
experiments very rare”

While the moratorium should spell the end of commercial plans for
ocean fertilization at least one US company, Climos inc of San
Francisco seems to be powering full steam ahead to defy the
international convention. Last week , knowing that a moratorium was
under discussion, Climos CEO Dan Whaley announced that his firm was
approaching investors for an injection of up to 12 million US dollars
to finance a plan to fertilize 100 to 200 kilometers of the ocean.(1)
Climos had at least one lobbyist in Bonn attempting to derail
negotiations. ETC warns that this is not the last we have seen of  the
“geo-engineering” dream of a large scale techno-fix for climate change.

“This is just the end of round one on geo-engineering” warns Jim
Thomas of ETC Group’s Montreal office. “There are still plenty of
crazy unregulated schemes being proposed to fix the climate – these
range from polluting the upper atmosphere with nanoparticles to
changing the alkalinity of the oceans. The CBD should now move swiftly
to open up wider negotiations on how to govern geo-engineering in
general. This moratorium on ocean fertilization is a good start.”

Notes to Editors:

A background briefing on ocean fertilization prepared for delegates of
the CBD is available from ETC Group.

For an overview of geo-engineering schemes see ETC Group Communique,
“Gambling with Gaia,” January 2007.
http://www.etcgroup.org/en/materials/publications.html?pub_id=608

(1) Rachel Barron, Greentech Media  “Climos Seeks $10M to $12M to
Fertilize Ocean”  May 21st 2008 – online at
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/climos-seeks-10m-to-12m-to-fertilize-ocean-923.html

For more information contact:

Pat Mooney  and Silvia Ribeiro,  ETC Group (in Bonn, Germany)
etc@etcgroup.org
Silvia@etcgroup.org
+ 49 17677064731 (mobile)  or  +1 613 2610688 (mobile)

Jim Thomas, ETC Group (in Montreal, Canada) jim@etcgroup.org
+1 514 6674932 (office) or +1 514 516-5759 (mobile)

The full text of the agreement at the CBD due to be approved this
afternoon  reads:

C. Ocean Fertilization

1.  Notes the work of the London Convention on the prevention of
Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (1972) and the
1996 London Protocol, welcomes the decision of the 29th Consultative
Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the London Convention and the
second meeting of the contracting parties of the London Protocol, held
5 to 9 November 2007, which (i) endorsed the June 2007 “Statement of
concern regarding iron fertilization of the Oceans to sequester CO2”
of their Scientific Groups, (ii) urged states to use the utmost
caution when considering proposals for large-scale ocean fertilization
operations and (iii) took the view that, given the present state of
knowledge regarding ocean fertilization, large-scale operations were
currently not justified.

(a) Requests the Executive Secretary to bring the issue of ocean
fertilization to the attention of the Joint Liason Group;

(b) Urges parties and other governments to act in accordance with the
decision of the London Convention;

(c) Recognizes the current absence of reliable data covering all
relevant aspects of ocean fertilization, without which there is an
inadequate basis on which to assess their potential risks;

(d) Bearing in mind the ongoing scientific and legal analysis
occurring under the auspices of the London Convention and the London
Protocol, requests Parties and 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 those activities; with the
exception of small scale scientific research within national
jurisdiction. Such studies should only be authorized if justified by
the need to gather specific scientific data, and should also be
subject to a thorough prior assessment of the potential impacts of the
research studies on the marine environment, and be strictly
controlled,  and not be used for generating and selling carbon offsets
or any other commercial purposes;

(e) Requests the Executive Secretary to disseminate the results of
the ongoing scientific and legal analysis under the London Convention
and the London Protocol, and any other relevant scientific and
technical information, to the 14th meeting of SBSTTA .

Jim Thomas
ETC Group (Montreal)
jim@etcgroup.org
+1 514 6674932

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