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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
Name of conflict:Haida Gwaii Geo-engineering Planktos, BC, Canada
State or province:British Colombia
Location of conflict:Old 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:Other
Specific commodities:Fish
Carbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project details

tonnes of iron sulphate were dumped into the Pacific Ocean causing an algal bloom of over 10,000 square kilometres.

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Project area:1,000,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project2,500,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2,500 (Haida) - 7 billion (global pop.)
Company names or state enterprises:Planktos Inc.
Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) from Canada
Relevant government actors:United Nations
International and Finance InstitutionsUnited Nations Human Rights Council (UN) from United States of America
London Convention
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:ETC group, The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, CBD Alliance
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-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
Other Environmental impactsMay 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-economical ImpactsPotential: Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Proposal and development of alternatives:Geoengineering 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Convention on Biological Diversity and London Convention/Protocol

More info:
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Times Colonist
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Guardian -
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NYT- Geoengineering: Testing the Waters, Naomi Klein.
[click to view]

ETC group
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Leah Temper
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:389
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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