Ocean Seeding Banned Until More Research

Here comes a potential hiccup for companies in the business of ocean seeding like startup Climos, which just last week we reported was looking to raise more funding. Delegates at a U.N. biodiversity convention on Friday decided to call for a temporary ban on the practice of seeding the world’s oceans with iron, which can potentially boost carbon-sucking phytoplankton blooms. After 12 days of discussions at the convention, representatives from 200 countries agreed to “a moratorium” on the practice according to reports, until scientists have better studied its impact on the environment.

Climos’ CEO Dan Whaley sent us over a response to the groups decision (also printed on Climos’ website) that basically says the company agrees to a very cautious approach of fully researching the practice of ocean seeding before starting any projects:

“. . . the CBD statement calls for additional scientific research, a precautionary approach and appropriate regulatory controls for OIF [Ocean Iron Fertilization] activities — objectives that have been shared by Climos since its inception. . . . Climos agrees that OIF activities should proceed only where there is an adequate scientific basis to justify them, including assessing associated risks, and should be subject to an appropriate regulatory framework including any permits required pursuant to the IMO LC process.”

According to reports from the convention delegates were concerned that carbon dioxide and nutrients could make the oceans more acidic, which could harm animal and plant life. While Climos has said all along that it will only go forward with its plans if there is science to back up the projects, the UN group’s suggestion does add more controversy to the practice. We’re not sure if that will hurt the company’s ability to raise that $8 million to $10 million Series B round — but it certainly can’t help much.