Canadian iron fertilization project highlights fuziness of legal regime on geo-engineering

Parties to the relevant international dumping at sea Conventions [the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Convention) and 7th meeting of Contracting Parties to 1996 Protocol thereto (London Protocol)] have adopted a statement, condemning a recent ocean iron fertilisation project off the coast of Canada.

In 2008, Parties to the London Convention and Protocol adopted a resolution prohibiting ocean fertilization other than for legitimate scientific research (see relevant discussion in Nidhi Srivastava’s work here). Whether this amounted to a moratorium or not was immediately interpreted differently by different stakeholders.  The current commotion illustrates that geo-engineering may be added to nanotechnology and shale gas as an area of regulatory law where the ‘incremental’ approach to regulation sure does lead to a lot of uncertainty in the meantime.


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