Sunday, May 07, 2006

10 Years ago, Iron Fertilization Battle Lines Already Drawn

I just re-read this incredible article, from 1995, which explained to me so clearly why the Iron Fertilization field is so emotional and combative. The conclusion of this article is clear -- even on the very first voyage, before one fact or piece of scientific data was collected, some researchers were deeply entrenched in their opposition to his technology.

At the end of the day, this story is about personal ideaologies, not science.

“We had predicted the response, but none of us was really prepared for what it would look or feel like,” says (Kenneth) Coale, a researcher at the Moss Landing (Calif.) Marine Laboratories. “There were some of us who were quite pleased and others of us who would walk out on the fantailand burst into tears. It was a profoundly disturbing experience for me"

Coale and many others who witnessed iron’s tremendous greening effect loathe the idea of tinkering with the globe in such a heavy-handed way.

Martin lobbied extensively for conducting a field experiment of iron fertilization—a plan that some oceanographers considered anathema.

Oceanographer Sallie W. Chisholm of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology often argued with him about the ethics of geoengineering, or even of conducting research toward that goal.

"I think it’s folly. It would just cause another environmental problem,” says Chisholm. “It’s so naive to think that we can do one thing and it’s going to have a predictable effect. The arrogance of human beings is just astounding.”

There you have it folks...the smoking gun. From the very start, before they even knew anything about the process, two of the key researchers were deeply entrenched in opposition to it.

What does that mean? In my view it means that we can't really be sure of any of the conclusions reached by anyone in any way connected to the two researchers above. There is just too much chance that a negative spin was put into the data.

Here is also a more recent quote from Coale in Discover:
Coale thinks it's unfair, if not impossible, to expect the oceans to absorb more than 6 billion tons of excess carbon each year. "There are many of us who consider the oceans to be sacred," he says. But "we've let the cat out of the bag. We have to keep looking at it now, whether we like it or not."

He couldn't make any more clear his fundamental resistance to the process.

I promise a lot more on this topic.

Technorati: Carbon Sequestration, Global Warming, Coal, Wikipedia, Carbon Dioxide, Acidification, Plankton