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Ocean Fertilisation Ruled Out as a ‘Fix’ for Climate Change

11 November 2007 No Comment

Amsterdam, 9 November 2007 – Greenpeace today welcomed the agreement by the
Meeting of Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol that large-scale ocean fertilisation operations are currently not justified, given the present state of knowledge. (1)

Ocean fertilisation is the idea that dumping large quantities of urea or iron filings into areas of the ocean increases marine uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“These operations have already been recognised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as ‘highly speculative’,” said Dr David Santillo, from Greenpeace International’s Science Unit, who is attending the meeting.

“The London Convention has now endorsed scientific concerns about impacts of
large-scale ocean fertilisation and, on that basis, taken the clear view that such operations should not proceed at this time”, he said.

“Greenpeace wants Parties to act accordingly to prevent reckless carbon profiteers from continuing with their schemes and potentially threatening the oceans, said Dr Santillo.”

The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
concluded that geo-engineering solutions to climate change remain largely unproven and are potentially high risk. The IPCC has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its scientific efforts.

Dr Santillo continued, “This decision by the London Convention underlines
that so-called ‘solutions’ like ocean fertilisation are simply a distraction. Addressing climate change needs a focus on real solutions like investing more in renewable energy, no more new coal fired power plants, and protecting the world’s forests. On ocean fertilisation, the Convention has clearly taken seriously its responsibility to exercise precaution and protect the marine environment, and demonstrated its ability to act swiftly in the light of emerging threats.”

“This agreement also sends a clear message to governments, due to meet for
next month’s UN climate conference in Bali, about the shortcomings of supposed technical fixes as opposed to cutting carbon dioxide emissions at source,” he said.

Contact:

Dr David Santillo, Greenpeace Science Unit. Tel: +44 781 38 744 89 (mobile)
Omer Elnaiem, Greenpeace International communications. Tel: +31 6 1509 3589

Notes to Editors:

(1) Agreed text: “The Meetings agreed on:

1. endorsing the ‘Statement of Concern’ on large-scale ocean iron fertilisation as agreed by the Scientific Groups;”

2. the scope of the work of the LC/LP includes ocean fertilization, as well
as iron fertilization;”

3. the consideration of ocean fertilisation falls under the competences of
the LC/LP, in particular in relation to the obligation of the Convention and
Protocol to protect the marine environment;”

4. LC/LP will further study the issue from the scientific and legal perspectives with a view to its regulation;”

5. recognizing that it is within the purview of each state to consider proposals on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the LC/LP, the LC29/LP2 urges States to use the utmost caution when considering proposals for large-scale ocean fertilization operations. The LC/LP take the view that, given the present state of knowledge regarding ocean fertilization, such large-scale operations are currently not justified;”

The full title of the London Convention is the “Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter”.

http://www.imo.org/home.asp?topic_id=1488

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