Solution to Increased Atmospheric CO2: Iron Fertilization of the Oceans

Hi all, I wanted a wise bunch to ask this question:
If it is true that humans are altering the climate with carbon dioxide, then why don’t we make a serious effort to reduce it with the simplest, cheapest method we can find?

Personally, I am skeptical of the whole climate hysteria. It seems pretty obvious to me the leftists are using climate change as a reason to impose more socialism on us. I live in Minnesota, where the glaciers melted about 12,000 years ago. Humans surely didn’t cause it then, the current heating trend is most likely a natural occurance. 6,000 years ago most of Minnesota was dry treeless prairie, since then the coniferous forests that favor cold climates have advanced south.

The sun heats the earth. Variations in the sun’s output probably account for more climate change than our CO2 emissions.

Anyway, to get back to my original question, why aren’t they proposing a quick fix, like iron fertilization of the oceans? It is a natural process that has happened for millions of years. Carbon would be sequestered in the phytoplankton that would then sink to the bottom of the ocean. It would actually give us another benefit by increasing the amount of plankton in the ocean which has fallen in recent years.

I think this is why they would rather demonize the “climate warming deniers” than propose solutions: the climate change crowd want to punish the evil capitalist USA.

Here is the link to wikipedia if you aren’t familiar with iron fertilization:

I haven’t a clue whether the iron thing would work, but since you made quite a point about the politics of the issue…

…I’d like to ask a question:

Just suppose for a moment that it isn’t just a political conspiracy; If a large number of scientists discovered for real that climate change was upon us and required urgent action, and set about trying to spread the word and make that action happen…

How would it look different?

Actually, maybe I do have something to say on the iron thing… surely we’re talking about an extremely large quantity of iron being dumped in the sea as powder or something? - isn’t that going to fuck up some ecosystems rather significantly? What form does the iron need to be in? Not metallic, I hope - because we’d create a heck of a lot of CO[sub]2[/sub] refining it.

Sounds interesting. The Wiki article mentions larger scale experiments whose results would be available by autumn '96. Anything yet?

A mesoscale phytoplankton bloom in the polar Southern Ocean stimulated by iron fertilization

The Effects of Iron Fertilization on Carbon Sequestration in the Southern Ocean

Goal of ocean ‘iron fertilization’ said still unproved:

Phytoplankton, of course have evolved more in a floating direction than a sinking direction.

If you don’t believe a large majority of climate scientists, then why on earth would you believe any scientific research that said that iron fertilization might work? If scientific results are politically motivated, of course research that showed that iron fertilization worked could be politically motivated and false as well.

You seem to be in the class of people who believe scientific results only when they are convenient. That’s not the way science works.

Actually, it’s in the interests of companies to reduce their energy requirements since it’ll save a boatload of cash. What else would you think is socialist? CAFE standards?

**ex747mech ** : What would you say if the vast majority of Scientist from the vast majority of nations all felt that humans were producing too many Green House gases and causing a potential catastrophic rise in world temperature that over the next 50-100 year if we do not change the direction of what we are doing, will cause the Oceans to rise about 24".

I am just wondering what you would think of this as this is the majority belief of most scientists around the world and in the US.

My God, it is the largest conspiracy ever. :wink:

Seriously, look at today’s UN reports. You might change your mind.

Jim {“Rabidly liberal” Republican Veteran that voted for Reagan}

So what does it mean when even Foxnews posts the new findings?,2933,249659,00.html

PARIS — Scientists from 113 countries issued a landmark report Friday saying they have little doubt global warming is caused by man, and predicting that hotter temperatures and rises in sea level will “continue for centuries” no matter how much humans control their pollution.

IPCC Changes Tune, Links Stronger Hurricanes to Global Warming,2933,249873,00.html

Or that other Liberal Rag the Wall Street Journal?
Global-Warming Report Gets U.S. Emphasis
U.N. Report Adds Pressure to Global-Warming Fight

Warning Video Link: China’s Coal Consumption.

BTW: Some good news. We could stop this. We have the ability. There is no silver bullet but rather a massive effort on many fronts.

It is time to clean up our power industry and auto industry.
It is time to phase out incandescent bulbs and phase in fluorescent and LED.
It is time to pass strict efficiency standards on appliances and cars.
It is time to invest in new cleaner nuclear power plants.
It is time to keep pusher even harder for new and more solar and wind solutions.
It is time to build houses to new more efficient standards.
We need to increase funding for Fusion power.
We need to seriously pursue a hydrogen fuel system. Maybe LA, Chicago and NYC could pilot test this with Federal help.
Time for serious investment in getting plug-in very low emission Hybrids into production with tax breaks to encourage sales.
It is time to get serious about global warming and save our shores.

Jim {sorry it is very late, I know I forgot many good additional solutions}

Everyone is ignoring the credentialled scientists who are skeptical of human caused global warming thanks to the liberal mainstream media. Many people can see right through the politics of this issue: destroy evil capitalism.

What if the changing climate had nothing to do with human activities, like it has been for millions of years? Now that humans have alot invested in our coastal cities we don’t want the oceans to rise. What would we do if it weren’t the result of carbon emissions? WE WOULD MOVE. Which would still bring up many political problems, but we wouldn’t have the socialists blaming the capitialists, and demanding their heads on a platter for the increasing ocean levels.

According to the articles I read it wouldn’t take that much, equivalent to 2 to 5 oil tanker loads of iron a year. It would have to be fine dust, or mixed with other elements like sulfur. I would think low grade ore like taconite could be powered and used. In nature the 3- 5% of iron in dust blown into oceans triggers plankton blooms.

The reason I am skeptical of the current climate hysteria is the obvious political divisions that have been drawn. Socialists/communists are complete true believers that mankind is destroying the planet and the solution is to end capitalism and tax the USA for its energy consumption sins.

The mainstream media completely ignores the skeptics of human induced climate change.

The whole point of my original post is: if the ultimate goal of the environmentalists is to stop climate change that is caused by humans, then why don’t they propose iron fertilization to reduce CO2? Surely enough of them know about it, and the tests have been promising. My suspicion is the leftists don’t WANT a solution, they want to defeat capitalism.

I AM willing to believe humans cause global warming, if they can explain how the climate changed in the past without human activity, and how this isn’t just another natural cycle in the global temperature variations. The politics of this issue leave me skeptical.

Look at the headlines in the news this morning: Climate changed caused by humans; TAX THE USA!!!

There are plenty of studies that have shown promise, too. But if they don’t conform with one’s belief system, then they should probably be ignored.

As petroleum runs out, we will have to find new energy storage regimes and sources, like hydrogen, solar, nuclear, etc. I would rather have a car that is more like my washing machine that needs little to no maintenance, than the greasy noisy, maintenance hog hulks I currently drive.

If you want to get serious about global warming and saving our shores, then WHY DON’T THEY LOOK AT EVERY POSSIBLE SOLUTION???

I brought up a viable, promising solution, and the leftists here just crap all over it and try to convert me into their belief system. Which only reinforces my original thesis is the global warming hysteria ISN’T about the climate, it is about politics.

I did not dismiss your suggestion; I have not yet studied it, or looked into it.
I would not list such a possibility without some additional cross-references to both the impact of such an attempted and the actual use of it.

My posts were all to try and get you to take the threat of Global Warming seriously.

I say again, I am not a lefty*; I am as anti-communist as the next capitalist and a Republican to boot. I just happen to be a green Republican.

It is an interesting article. I would strongly suggest you send it as a serious question stripped of its political rants and assumptions to some neutral magazines like **Scientific America ** and the New Scientist.

In fact maybe just resubmit this question without the politics to **Cecil himself ** and see if he or the **SDSAB ** take up the challenge and investigate your suggestion. The Wiki article is poorly cited overall, but there are many outside links I will look over in the next week.

I hope this clarifies my position.

By the way, welcome to the board and if you want more objective answers to your ops, you need to phrase your questions more objectively.


  • Unless you meant left-handed, by chance I am indeed left-handed. :wink:

This is a ludicrous caricature of the situation. You only need to look at the abysmal environmental records of the Soviet Union and Communist China to falsify this dichotomy.

Actually, they pay attention to them well out of proportion to their actual numbers.

Actually, it has been proposed, and is being investigated. However, the tests have NOT been particularly promising, as **Squink’s ** links show. Please provide some cites for studies you regard as “promising.”

Even if this was a viable way to reduce atmospheric CO2, there is a strong possibility it would disrupt ocean ecosystems and cause other major environmental problems. As a general solution, it makes as much sense as turning on the air conditioner because your furnace is turned up too high.

It you would actually read some of the scientific literature on the subject, you might understand this. But I doubt whether you would actually want to fight your own ignorance in this way. Your appear to be completely blinkered on the subject by your politics.

Please provide a cite for a headline in a mainstream newspaper that suggests “taxing the USA” as a solution to the problem.

Getting back to the facts on this iron fertilization thingie, I did look up a few articles and came across a few things I didn’t know:

  • that phytoplankton are declining rapidly due to increased carbon, which through a chain reaction is decreasing the amount of iron dust reaching the oceans, thereby causing a drop in their population,
  • that this is causing populations up the food chain in the oceans to fall, and
  • is causing albedo to increase, because it seems that if you have a lot of these guys floating along the surface, they reflect sunlight.

So, it seems to me that even without the carbon sequestration effect, increasing the phytoplankton population in this way might be a good idea, both to mitigate a bit the warming of the oceans themselves, and to increase populations of krill and fishes up the food chain.

You’ve forgotten Exxon and the American Enterprise Institute.
Don’t forget Exxon and the American Enterprise Institute.

They’re desperately trying to get some credentialled scientists who are skeptical of human caused global warming to step forward and say their piece:
Exxon linked to climate change pay out

Surely a bribe will bring out credentialled scientists who are skeptical of human caused global warming like nothing else can!

They’re reporting the news?

Shocking huh?