Washington, Jan 11 : An international team of scientists, which include signatories from India, have issued a warning that it is too early to sell carbon offsets from ocean iron fertilization.
Other signatories include scientists from the US, Japan, Hawaii, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK.
Ocean iron fertilisation (OIF) is one of several marine-based methods proposed for mitigating rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. esearch since 1993 has shown that releasing iron onto the ocean surface can stimulate the growth of plankton.
However, the efficiency with which OIF captures carbon from the atmosphere and retains it in the deep ocean, is still uncertain and unintended ecological impacts are not yet fully understood.
But despite the scientific uncertainties, private companies are currently planning larger-scale iron releases to generate the sale of carbon credits.
According to the joint letter issued by the team o scientists, it is premature to sell carbon offsets from the first generation of commercial-scale OIF experiments unless there is better demonstration that OIF effectively removes CO2, retains that carbon in the ocean for a quantifiable amount of time, and has acceptable and predictable environmental impacts.
"While we do envision the possibility of iron fertilisation as an effective form of carbon offsetting, we believe larger scale experiments are needed to assess the efficiency of this method and to address possible side effects," said Prof Watson of the University of East Anglia.
"There remain many unknowns and potential negative impacts," he added.