Carbon Project Endangers the Galápagos


By Stephen Leahy

A company is preparing to enrich seawater with iron in order to promote phytoplankton growth and the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere near the environmentally-protected Galápagos Islands.

PUERTO AYORA, Galápagos, Ecuador, Jul 9 ’07 (Tierramérica).- Later this month a U.S. company, Planktos Inc., plans to dump 100 tons of iron dust into the ocean near Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands, despite opposition from environmental groups and marine scientists.This will be the first-ever commercial effort to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, one of the main gases blamed for climate change, by using iron particles to create a 10,000-square-kilometer “plankton bloom”.

Planktos says the extra volume of these small, floating organisms will absorb large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and take it deep into the sea. And this method may be the fastest and most powerful tool to battle climate change.


“The currents will likely bring the bloom into the [Galápagos] Marine Reserve,” covering 133,000 sq. km, the world’s third largest marine reserve, says Washington Tapia, director of the Galápagos National Park, which includes the reserve. Continue reading