Planktos ends ocean fertilisation trial

The ocean fertilisation trials planned by Californian carbon offset company Planktos have been "indefinitely postponed" following intense campaigning by NGOs.

Planktos was planning to seed the Pacific ocean with iron to try to create an algal bloom that would capture and store carbon dioxide (ENDS Report 389, p 29 ).

In a statement the firm said it had struggled to raise funds for the trials after "a highly effective disinformation campaign waged by anti-offset crusaders". It has "radically downsized" while it considers its options.

A range of organisations had criticised the trials over fears about the effectiveness of iron fertilisation, possible side effects and the scheme’s legality. Sea Shepherd, the conservation organisation better known for its battles with whaling ships, had also vowed to interrupt the trials.

The 82 countries party to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution agreed in November that large-scale fertilisation was not justified given current scientific uncertainties (ENDS Report 395, p 29 ).

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