He thought, correctly, that iron can stimulate ocean plants. But he thought, wrongly, that this would make the ocean suck up CO2 and blunt global warming.
This was an idea with teeth, according to a NASA biography, because it took an oceanographic hypothesis and turned it into a techno-fix for a big social problem.
Now a new report for policy makers finds that the oceanographic hypothesis has merit, iron can fertilize ocean plankton. But the geo-engineering hope was wrong, this process can't capture enough CO2 to make a difference. From the report:
Lead author of the report Professor Doug Wallace from the Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften (IFM-GEOMAR) says: "The published findings suggest that even very large-scale fertilization would remove only modest amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over 100 years".Too bad, it would be nice to have a solution in hand, even though ocean ecosystems would be put at risk. Then, at least, we could do something if we all start to Sizzle.
I knew John Martin, and it was interesting to watch this debate unfold over the last few decades. I suspect he's smiling at this news. His comment spurred a great adventure in oceanography, something he would be pleased to see. Tweet