Sunday, July 06, 2008

Breaking News: Planktos Restarts

The team from failed iron fertilization organization Planktos, led by founder Russ George, just announced they have re-started as Planktos-Science.

In an extensive and detailed exposition on the new web site, George makes the case that damage to the oceans due to a sudden spike in acidification is happening much faster than anyone is willing to admit, and that iron fertilization is the only solution that can stop it. From an email interview, George says:

“Even if society does not emit one single molecule more fossil CO2 the oceans will acidify to death from the CO2 already in the atmosphere... no amount of reducing our carbon footprint will suffice... Not even ceasing all fossil fuel use today…ONLY ecorestoration and replenished and renewed photosynthesis offers any hope at all.”
(If I may editorialize…George has stated many times his unwavering support for reduction of fossil fuel use as well. In the comment above he’s re-iterating that even if carbon usage is reduced, it’s still not enough.)

For those of us who are tempted to view such comments as extremism, well, just pick up a copy of the July 2008 Discover Magazine and look for an article called "Ocean Reflux" -- which highlights scientists saying exactly the same thing.

Also in the new Planktos site, we see the web site is focused specifically on the potential for restoration of ocean health – not carbon credits. George said that this was the intent all along.

“We always defined ourselves as being in the ecorestoration business… But those who attack this field used an age old tactic of defining Planktos as their Strawman and only about iron fertilization and carbon credit money and they attacked us for the characteristics of their Strawman, not for who we are. The sticking of the description of geo-engineering was also opposed by us … if anything we must engage in REVERSE geo-engineering… the hundreds of billions of tonnes of anthropogenic (manmade) CO2 now in the air is (already a form of) geoengineering…"

Strong stuff. If indeed the oceans are in as dire peril as the news seems to show, then George's advocacy of iron fertilization “therapy” makes sense. The planet earth deserves advocacy on both sides of this question, and it deserves people trying new solutions.
As I’ve said in prior commentary, people strongly opposed to iron fertilization have been dominating the debate for many, many years. Now Planktos and Climos and a few others are beginning to fight back, so that we will finally have a real debate on the topic. And even better, they are actually proposing to do something. Maybe it is just research, maybe it will take years or decades, but it's something.
There seem to be thousands of climate change people who consider do nothing to be an acceptable strategy. It's nice to see one person, or perhaps even two people, who are trying to do something. Hey, even with a thousand-to-one ratio of do nothing people to do something people, at least we have some chance for a valid scientifically accurate debate, right?
It is absolutely crucial that we have strong champions, and a full debate, on both sides. Only in this way will the general public and government leaders, as time goes on, develop a full understanding all sides of the question and have an opportunity to make reasonable decisions.
So thank you Planktos for trying again.