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Update: ocean seeding experiment underway

polarsternThe controversial on-again, off-again mission of  the German research vessel Polarstern is now on: the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research reports that it has begun seeding the waters around Antarctica with iron sulphate.

The so-called LOHAFEX (an odd acronym: “Loha” is Hindi for “iron”, “Fex” stands for “fertilisation experiment”) project got under way shortly after researchers aboard the ship received approval from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Research. The experiment is aimed at finding out whether iron seeding can stimulate blooms of phytoplankton to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and eventually sequester it at the bottom of the ocean.

The ETC Group, which has been among the eco-oriented organisations opposed to the experiment, is vehemently criticising the German government’s go-ahead.

“We are outraged that (Research Minister Annette) Schavan has given a green light to start dumping iron despite concerns expressed by the Environment Minister and a broad coalition of civil society organisations as well as scientists,” said the ETC Group’s Silvia Ribeiro. “This decision shows an astonishing disregard for the decision of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity — in which the German government played a key role — and will seriously undermine Germany’s credibility at future negotiations. It also gives the wrong signal to the geo-engineers who would like to re-engineer our planet for profit.”

And so the fun begins! Let’s all go on to play, “What happens next?”

1 Comment

  • d
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Congratulations to the German government for clearly seeing the lies and propaganda of the scurrilous and despicable ETC Group and backing this urgently needed science.

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