Haida Gwaii Geo-engineering Planktos, BC, Canada


In July 2012, a controversial American businessman and 'rogue geo-engineer' dumped around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada near the islands of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia. It was soon confirmed that a newly-formed company, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) � George, the CEO of Planktos, as both its Chief Scientist and Chair of the Board � had been granted funding (totaling more than $2.5 million) for a project to fertilize the ocean, with the intent of selling carbon credits and increasing the wild Pacific salmon population, by the council of Old Massett on Haida Gwaii. According to the Council of the Haida Nation � the de facto government of the Haida people �a dump of iron had indeed allegedly taken place and had reportedly given rise to a plankton bloom, but that the Haida communities had been misled as to the risks and international legal status of such activities. The communities had been told they would earn carbon credits from the dump yet this was a highly unlikely outcome since commercial ocean fertilization is prohibited under international agreements. The dump contravenes the UN convention on biological diversity (CBD) and London convention on the dumping of wastes at sea, which both prohibit for-profit ocean fertilisation activities.

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Basic Data
NameHaida Gwaii Geo-engineering Planktos, BC, Canada
ProvinceBritish Colombia
SiteOld Massett, Haida Gwaii
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)REDD/CDM
Specific Commodities
Carbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project Detailstonnes of iron sulphate were dumped into the Pacific Ocean causing an algal bloom of over 10,000 square kilometres.

HSRC estimates that its experiment absorbed 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Project Area (in hectares)1,000,000
Level of Investment (in USD)2,500,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population2,500 (Haida) - 7 billion (global pop.)
Company Names or State EnterprisesPlanktos Inc.
Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) from Canada
Relevant government actorsUnited Nations
International and Financial InstitutionsUnited Nations Human Rights Council (UN) from United States of America
London Convention
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersETC group, The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, CBD Alliance
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
OtherMay irreparably harm ocean ecosystems, produce toxic tides, and worsen ocean acidification and global warming. May contribute to earthquakes.
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseTechnical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of AlternativesGeoengineering is the large-scale manipulation of earth or climate systems Reduction of emissions. ETC is urgently calling for a moratorium on real-world geoengineering experimentation. Solutions to climate change should be based on commitments to reducing emissions, not a quick fix that may put the whole planet at risk.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Canada has not taken any action to charge those responsible, opening the door for other large scale experiments on the global ecosystem under the guise of geo-engineering as a false solution to climate change.
Sources and Materials

More info:
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Convention on Biological Diversity and London Convention/Protocol


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Times Colonist
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Guardian -
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ETC group
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NYT- Geoengineering: Testing the Waters, Naomi Klein.
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Meta Information
ContributorLeah Temper
Last update10/04/2019