Unfortunately, there are already people travelling down this road, as shown by a relatively recent unauthorized and unethical attempt to carry out ocean iron fertilization on a large scale.
I am grateful to my colleagues at the National Oceanography Centre (Katya Popova, Josie Robinson, and Andrew Yool) with whom I have been able to carry out research on the science of ocean iron fertilization, which stimulated a wider interest in the problem of geoengineering and led to the writing of this article.
I am involved in computer modeling studies of ocean iron fertilization: see J.
But that's only if ocean iron fertilization can be shown to be effective, without significant side effects, and amenable to monitoring and verification ("auditing" in carbon credit jargon) at reasonable cost.
Despite the urgency of dealing with the carbon problem, Kite-Powell sees a benefit to postponing commercial implementation of iron fertilization, since the delay gives scientists time to work out the procedure's many unknowns and regulators time to decide how to include ocean iron fertilization in carbon markets and international laws.
However, the IPCC also stated that ocean iron fertilization remains largely speculative, and many of the environmental side effects have yet to be assessed.
"The Scientific Groups noted with concern the potential for large-scale ocean iron fertilization to have negative impacts on the marine environment and human health.
We also discussed who might be involved in regulating the high seas, and what economic markets were interested in ocean iron fertilization as a possible method to offset carbon emissions.
Toward that end, we came together with many different perspectives on what we know and what we would like to know about ocean iron fertilization. We did not come together to approve or disapprove of any particular commercial or research plans.
We hope our conference and this collection of articles shed some light on ocean iron fertilization, an often misunderstood, oversold, and oversensationalized process that has been occurring naturally for millions of years.