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NEWS RELEASE · 17th October 2012
Margaret Munro - Post Media
George is the former chief executive of Planktos Inc. and his vessels were barred from ports by the Spanish and Ecuadorean governments after previous attempts to produce plankton blooms near the Galapagos and Canary Islands. The Haida Gwaii experiment is believed to be the biggest geoengineering attempt to date, Jim Thomas, of the technology watchdog ETC Group, said Monday. The group has long tracked and publicized what Thomas describes as George’s “scams” and “schemes.”

He said George has been pushing various carbon credit schemes in Haida Gwaii for a few years.

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Guujaaw said he hopes the experiment will not harm the reputation of Haida, long recognized for promoting sustainable logging and protecting and respecting the marine environment.

Observers say the experiment has contravened the United Nations convention on biological diversity and London convention on the dumping of wastes at sea, which prohibit for-profit ocean fertilization.

“It appears to be a blatant violation of two international resolutions,” said Kristina Gjerde, a senior high seas adviser for the International Union for Conservation of Nature told the Guardian. “Even the placement of iron particles into the ocean, whether for carbon sequestration or fish replenishment, should not take place, unless it is assessed and found to be legitimate scientific research without commercial motivation.

“This does not appear to even have had the guise of legitimate scientific research,” she said.

The Canadian experiment is expected to attract plenty of attention this week at a meeting about the UN convention on biological diversity in India, where there will be calls for a comprehensive ban of geoengineering that includes enforcement mechanisms.

“It’s urgent that governments ban open-air geoengineering experiments,” said Thomas, whose group is calling on the Canadian government to back a ban and push for enforcement. “These geoengineering tests are just not acceptable.”

As for this summer’s experiment, Thomas said “we would like to see very clear and strong action from Canada that they condemn this.” He said the people of Masset may be able to take legal action “for being misled” that fertilizing the ocean could generate carbon credits.

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