Friday, December 07, 2007

Geoengineering vs. Environmentalists

On November 6, the company Planktos set sail from Florida to fertilize an undisclosed location in the equatorial Atlantic with iron. Why? They hope to prove that fertilizing the ocean with iron will result in an algae bloom that will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and surface of the ocean, then sink to the ocean floor to sequester the CO2. The idea is that this could help slow down or even stop global warming. Why, then does Planktos think it should have to do this in an undisclosed location? It seems like such action should receive global fanfare for there being a company working to reverse manmade global warming.

The 30 November 2007 Science reports that "THe secrecy is due to threats from environmental activists to disrupt the mission" (1368). One can only imagine what it means to "disrupt" a ship at sea spreading soluble iron around. Now, why would environmentalists want to stop a mission that is looking to reduce atmospheric CO2, which could reverse the effects of manmade CO2 on the climate? If environmentalists are really concerned about the state of the environment, if they are really concerned with reducing CO2 in the atmosphere to reverse global warming, shouldn't they be celebrating this kind of action? Of course not, for that is not what Leftist environmentalism is about. Their objection stems from the fact that companies like Planktos want to do this in order to make money selling credits for the sequestered CO2. Thus, the environmentalists who want to disrupt such a mission show their true colors to be red, not green. If Planktos is successful, a free market solution will have been found, and the socialist dreams of Al Gore and his comrades will have been sunk.

Further, as reported in the same article, the same scientists who are so certain about manmade global warming show complete skepticism about this kind of geoengineering, saying we don't know what the full results will be. Which is true, since we are tinkering with an element of a very complex system. So it's good that scientists are expressing skepticism, because that is how science is supposed to work. One would wish, however, for the same level of restraint on all proclamations regarding complex systems coming from scientists.
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