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October 16 News: Geoengineering Experiment Spawns Massive Plankton Bloom

A controversial American businessman dumped around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July, a Guardian investigation can reveal. [Guardian]

Satellite images appear to confirm the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. The intention is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and then sink to the ocean bed — a geoengineering technique known as ocean fertilisation that he hopes will net lucrative carbon credits.

“It is difficult if not impossible to detect and describe important effects that we know might occur months or years later,” said John Cullen , an oceanographer at Dalhousie University. “Some possible effects, such as deep-water oxygen depletion and alteration of distant food webs, should rule out ocean manipulation. History is full of examples of ecological manipulations that backfired.”

Shifts in crop production reflect a view among food producers that this summer’s drought in the U.S. — the worst in half a century — isn’t a random disaster. It’s a glimpse of a future altered by climate change that will affect worldwide production. [Businessweek]

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On NBC’s Meet the Press, on Sunday, Tom Brokaw noted that the debates, and the coverage of the whole campaign, is ignoring several pressing questions facing the country, including the threat of climate change. [Examiner]

Two environmental groups intensified their efforts in several House and Senate campaigns Monday , with one of them entering the Arizona Senate race for the first time in hopes of generating momentum for rising Democratic candidate Richard Carmona. [The Hill]

Keystone XL pipeline foes have tried petitioning the government, grabbing media attention and filing lawsuits. Now, with the southern leg of the pipeline under construction, they’re turning to civil disobedience — and actress Daryl Hannah. [Washington Post]

Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens has sold his stake in a controversial wind farm proposed in Goodhue County, Minn., but its new owner says the project is going ahead. [Star Tribune]

Iraq plans to spend up to $1.6 billion on solar and wind power stations over the next three years to add 400 megawatts to the national grid to help curb daily blackouts, an official from the ministry of electricity said on Monday. [Reuters]

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Introducing a financial incentive for energy efficiency could help the UK deliver electricity demand reductions at far lower cost than building new low carbon generation capacity, green campaigners have said. [Business Green]