On Earth Day 2006 Two Enormous Wrongs Await A Small Green Mr. Right--Plankton Power can Cool our CO2 Fevered Skies and Heal our Poisoned Seas

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An Earth Day present to the world: Ocean restoration firm Planktos, Inc. announces a powerful green antidote to global warming and ocean collapse. We can solve half our climate change problems and many worse crises in the sea simply by restoring the ocean plankton that human activities have killed off in the last 25 years. Returning plankton to 1980 levels of health and photosynthesis will sequester 3 billion tons of CO2, lessen ocean acidity, increase oxygen production, recharge the marine food chain, and generate enough valuable "carbon credits" to fund the whole enterprise. The technology safely mimics Mother Nature's fertilization of plankton life with the vital micronutrients in inexpensive iron dust.

Ocean restoration firm Planktos, Inc. announces a truly green and effective answer to global warming and ocean decline. The company will initiate commercial scale pilot projects this summer to demonstrate that marine plankton restoration can significantly lower atmospheric CO2, increase oxygen production, lessen coral-lethal ocean acidity, replenish the marine food chain and generate enough profits in the process to sustain the endeavor until the corner is turned.

Recent doom-drenched global warming headlines show the media and public are finally awakening to the enormous harm climate change can and will inflict upon our societies and countless creatures on our earth. However, the greatest and most immediate CO2 peril now facing the planet is the systemic poisoning of the seas. The atmosphere's increasing carbon dioxide burden are now acidifying the ocean, slowing oxygen production, and starving innumerable species.

Although Earth Day ceremonies will highlight much important progress in recycling, hybrids, and lists of "50 simple things," no one has yet advanced truly viable policies, safe technologies or even realistic plans to effectively address either our marine or terrestrial threats, let alone both at once. No one, that is, until Planktos, Inc. stood up.

The Planktos approach aligns five little-known facts that chart a hopeful new course for green activism and investment.

1)    Marine phytoplankton are the lifeblood of the planet, producing most of its oxygen, removing an equal amount of CO2, and feeding all larger ocean life. Yet NASA scientists have now found that 6~9% of these tiny plants have died off globally just since 1980 and their numbers continue to plunge. (The loss in the North Pacific is already up to 26%.)

2)    NASA also reports that atmospheric dust from arid lands and ocean dust deposition have fallen over 25% during the same period. This is critical because plankton desperately require that dust, which carries the vital iron micronutrient they need to photosynthesize and grow; and blue ocean plankton get it no other way.

3)    Simply restoring the plankton that have died off since 1980 by replenishing this iron would take 3 billion tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere, which equals half of our greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. It would also buffer ocean acidity and contribute many billion tons of nourishing biomass to the marine food chain helping to revive our fisheries, many endangered sea mammal & bird species, and the great whale populations as well.

4)    In otherwise nutrient-rich but iron starved waters (like the southern ocean and equatorial seas), adding one ton of iron will fix 367,000 tons of CO2 in a plankton bloom that grows and subsides in three to four months. Since at least 10~20% of that plankton carbon sinks and is removed from the atmosphere for centuries or longer, we could halve our modern impact on the climate -- and the sea -- with a modest fleet of iron dust delivery boats.

5)    Planktos has proven technology to produce this effect, and the carbon that is thereby "sequestered" in the ocean deep can be sold in the emerging international carbon offset markets to profitably finance the ocean restoration effort.

In other words, replenishing perishing plankton with inexpensive iron micronutrient dust can radically help to revive sea life, protect coral, increase oxygen, and turn climate change around. And rather than costing the public exchequer billions of dollars, it can be run as a green business and make money for those who help.

According to Planktos CEO Russ George, "We urge green-minded citizens to get involved in this endeavor, either with our group or others, and help alert our communities and leaders that our greenhouse gas crisis is also killing the seas. If we reduce our CO2 fifty percent by restoring ocean life and fifty percent at the source by conservation, renewables, and saner energy policies, the outlook for our grandkids and the biosphere can be far, far brighter than the current news suggests."

For more information on the ecological, scientific or economic aspects of climate-cooling ocean restoration, see http://www.planktos.com.


W. David Kubiak (650) 638-1975



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