Today, a new research group has been
announced that will focus on furthering our understanding of the efficacy and
impacts of ocean iron fertilization (OIF).
An initial group of twelve universities
and research centers from around the world have come together to found the ISIS
(in situ iron studies) Consortium. Its mission is to explore the potential impact of iron fertilization of
the oceans for reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s
atmosphere and to understand the environmental impacts of the technique. The
caliber and diversity of scientists and institutions involved represents a
substantial leap in breadth and capability of research on this topic. The
consortium website, available at http://isisconsortium.org/, describes the planned activities and members of
I have been an early team member
involved in the concept and implementation of the consortium and am pleased to
announce that I will shift my efforts to bring forward a next generation of OIF
experiments completely under this new group. I will do so as a private
citizen with no expected commercial benefit.
I believe that the signs global change
may be accelerating (record yearly average temperatures, melting of icecaps and
glaciers, insufficient winter die-off of pests like the pine bark beetle, ocean
acidification, extreme flooding and wildfires, etc) provide a strong rationale
to scale up our efforts to explore the potential benefits and repercussions of
Ocean Iron Fertilization (OIF) as well as other carbon and solar-based climate engineering
techniques. Given the failure of governments to maintain
economic signals that can support market-based solutions, non-commercial
efforts like the ISIS Consortium may be our only chance to deliver the answers
we need. It is my hope
that it serves as a model for others pursuing technologies like this to
Clearly no single climate engineering
approach known today could address all the impacts of climate change—just as no
single effort to mitigate carbon emissions can have a majority role by itself.
If ever deployed, climate engineering techniques must be
part of a comprehensive and aggressive global effort to limit and eventually
eliminate carbon emissions.
I am proud of the role that the team at
Climos and our various advisors and colleagues played in advancing the dialogue
around OIF, and in particular helping to design a global regulatory framework
under the London Convention and Protocol. I am excited that we may now be
entering the important next phase of this research. Over the next five to
ten years we may finally see mature scale studies that give governments the
insights they need to make informed decisions. It is my honor to be able
to serve this new larger effort.
As of this date, Climos has ceased
regular business activities. Our website will remain active as a record of our
activities and the materials we produced.
I would like to
personally thank the extraordinary number of people who came together over the
last five years in support of us and our mission, and who understood the importance
of the fundamental objective we had.
recognition is owed our Science Advisory Board, including Rita Colwell, Jody
Deming, Bob Gagosian, Tom Lovejoy, Deirdre Meldrum and Ed Miles, who
courageously supported our goal of bringing this research forward and whose
resolve is now vindicated by this new group.
of all, I’d like to thank my colleagues, Dick Whilden, Margaret Leinen, Bill
Kohrs, Kevin Whilden, Aileen Corpuz, Sharon Manuel and Ben Grant, who together made
it all possible.