5.15.2007

Save us Plankton!

On the theme of climate whatnot, I recently came accross an interesting article in Wired about a new method of modeling phytoplankton which should have quite an impact on the long-term climage change predictions. I.e., make those predictions less of a wild-ass guess. Faster please.

Which reminds me,Plankton farming strikes me as a reasonable way to take care of that CO2 we're pumping out, keeping this in mind of course:

"Some Silicon Valley technocrats are betting that it just might. In an effort to ameliorate the effects of global warming, several groups are working on ventures to grow vast floating fields of plankton intended to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and carry it to the depths of the ocean. It is an idea, debated by experts for years, that still sounds like science fiction — and some scholars think that is where it belongs.

But even though many questions remain unanswered, the first commercial project is scheduled to get under way this month when the WeatherBird II, a 115-foot research vessel, heads out from its dock in Florida to the Galápagos and the South Pacific...

The idea is similar to planting forests full of carbon-inhaling trees, but in desolate stretches of ocean. “This is organic gardening, not rocket science,” said Russ George, the chief executive of Planktos, the company behind the WeatherBird II project. “Can it possibly be as easy as we say it is? We’re about to find out.”

For Mr. George, this is not just science and environmentalism but business, possibly big business. Around the world, new treaties and regulations are forcing corporations to look for ways to offset their carbon emissions, and Planktos and its competitors may be able to charge millions of dollars for their services."

1 comment:

Andrew said...

If you view anthropogenic climate change as an engineering problem then the plankton fertilization plan is pretty awesome from a cost/impact perspective. I think I read somewhere that it is estimated that 1 iron atom added to the plankton ecosystem can result in 100,000 carbon atoms absorbed from the air and limestone is about as good as it gets as a sequestration medium. Combine this with coaxing the Indians and Chinese to put out most of their raging subterranean coal mine fires as the US did rather cheaply in the 60’s (equal to all US autos in carbon emissions) and the replacement of coal power with nuclear and we could hit Kyoto targets in no time.

However if you happen to view climate change as the “defining moral issue of our time” then any way to solve the problem painlessly will just let the US off easily without learning anything. The billions of dollars in alternative energy subsidy and economy slowing environmental regulations in Europe would all be for naught. What good is achieving environmental harmony if social justice isn’t advanced in the process?