I was asked to come to speak to this gathering, and I'm very honored
to do so. Ocean fertilization for carbon sequestration is a very
interesting problem, and one that concerns me. I'm not an academic
expert on the topic, but understand the legal and policy implications,
even though I am a scientist not a lawyer. Anyway, these are some
of the thoughts I've put together, based on my own experience.
I'd like to touch on the Kyoto Accord--if it's still okay to talk
about it in Washington (!)-- followed by the London Convention,
previously known as the London Dumping Convention; then the U.N.
Convention on Law of the Sea; and ending with some conclusions.
I'm offering is a brief overview of the possible international context
in which actions on artificial fertilization of the oceans could
develop. It is not an attempt to look in detail at the relevant
legal articles and it's certainly not a discussion of the scientific
validity of enhancing the productivity of the ocean.
Kyoto Accord allows for contracting parties to implement and further
elaborate policies and measures in accordance with their national
circumstances, and including their obligations under environmental
conventions. So one would think that the enrichment of the ocean
under this scenario is a valid consideration. The Accord also allows
for research, development, and increased use of carbon dioxide sequestration
that the concept of ocean fertilization to sequester atmospheric
carbon dioxide is valid, who controls what is happening, and who
gets any potential carbon credits? Can any government undertake
actions on its own? The answer to these questions are not black
and white. There is national versus the international control. The
Accord also instructs governments to share their experience and
exchange information on any measures that they undertake. Perhaps
the Accord would cover measures that are internal to government