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Viewings: 6108Last week thanks to the British Guardian newspaper, the world has learned that in July at coast of Western Canada in the ocean was poured over 100 tons of sulphate of iron to feed plankton, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, and increase the number of salmon.
It is unknown what was the reaction of the marine ecosystem, but on land the move provoked a storm of emotions: mad scientists, indigenous peoples angry, opponents of geoengineering solutions in fury.
The Guardian reported that the most ambitious in the history of geoengineering project became a blatant violation of international treaties. It was also suggested that American entrepreneur Russ George sabril head to the leaders of the Haida people from the Islands of Haida-Huai (former Queen Charlotte Islands).
In fact it was a bit wrong. When Mr. George contacted the editors of the journal Nature, he lashed out at the media. According to him, from beginning to end it was a project of the Council.
Fishing village old Massett, which is the Council of the Haida people and lives less than a thousand people wanted to restore the local salmon populations, increasing the concentration of phytoplankton, which lies at the base of the marine food chain. In February 2011 villagers voted for the allocation of $2.5 million to the firm Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC), says company head John Disney responsible also for the economic development of the village. Mr. George previously headed the firm Planktos from San Francisco, who tried to commercialize the technology fertilizing the ocean with iron. It turned representatives HSRC, and he agreed to take the post of the chief scientist of the Corporation. The costs of this project the village is going to pay through the sale of carbon credits.
"We made life where it was not," says Mr. Disney, claiming that as a result of phytoplankton bloomed on an area of about 10 km2 and caught fish, birds and whales. "The only difference with what has already been done by others, is that we climbed up a notch," says the entrepreneur.
It is true, in the ocean dropped five times more iron than in previous experiments. But none of the scientists have not yet seen evidence about the success or failure of the project. "I'm not going anybody unfounded condemn, but the experiments so not done, - says marine biologist Victor Smetacek from the Institute for polar and marine research them. Alfred Wegener (Germany). - This is quite a complicated science, and it would be better if things worked scientists".
About the legality of the project remain in doubt. Ocean fertilization is prohibited voluntary international moratorium on geoengineering projects, and also the agreement about the pollution of the ocean. Both documents make exceptions for scientific experiments, but they are recommended to do only government organizations for the protection of the environment. And corresponding canadian Agency in may, warned the authors of the project, that they will have appropriate permission.
...Which they never bothered to get what 18 October officially declared the canadian Parliament's environmental Minister Peter Kent. An investigation has begun. It turned out that HSRC received 70 thousand canadian dollars from Canada's national research Council, and the National Directorate of studies of the ocean and atmosphere of the USA has provided 20 buoys to monitor the status of water. Officials claim that knew nothing about the plans to ocean fertilization, thought it was salmon sake.
But this is really one way or another has to do with the salmon! And Jason Blackstock from Oxford University (UK) believes that soon such enterprises will become a widespread problem. People will realize geoengineering projects, claiming that they don't do this to climate change, and for something else, and at the local level.
About the sale of carbon credits on the results of such projects from the experts have serious doubts. It is obvious that on the official markets like the European system of trade in emission quotas they cannot be traded. So, we had to look for buyers elsewhere.
Ambiguous and the impacts of ocean fertilization on the absorption of carbon dioxide. Mr. of Smetacek on the results of the experiment, conducted in 2004, found that at least half of the carbon absorbed by plankton, sank to the bottom after the death of the body. But other studies have shown that the carbon remains in active biological cycle.
It is also unclear whether the project salmon. Unprecedented rich jamb of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in 2010 was held two years after the eruption of the volcano in Alaska in the ocean got iron-rich ash, provoked phytoplankton blooms. However, many scientists remain skeptical.
Anyway, HSRC has agreed to provide specialists with all its data. "They made an unprecedented, " said John Nightingale, Director of the Vancouver aquarium. - I want the maximum amount of information, a maximum of analysis and a maximum of debate."
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