Increasing the ocean's ability to absorb more CO2: doable, dangerous, or distraction?
Researchers in Nova Scotia have released 500 litres of pink fluorescent dye into the Halifax harbour as the first step in an experiment that seeks to use the ocean as a carbon sink.
Researchers in Nova Scotia have released 500 litres of safe pink fluorescent dye into the Halifax harbour this week. They say their plan is to track how far it travels through the ocean before they start experimenting with adding an alkaline substance to the water this fall to see if it neutralizes carbon dioxide in the water and increases the ocean's ability to absorb more CO2.
My automatic reaction to any stories like this about scientists messing with natural systems is, "Hmm... what could go wrong? 😬" I wonder what kind of impact adding a whole lot of alkaline material to the ocean will have on marine life – and if scientists will be able to scale their efforts enough to actually make a dent in the amount of carbon we're currently spewing into the atmosphere.
Given the high level of skepticism many scientists and environmentalists seem to have about most proposed carbon capture technologies, there's also cynical part of me that wonders if experiments like these are genuine attempts to help solve the climate crisis – or distractions meant to make people believe carbon capture is possible and therefore we don't have to push as hard to decarbonize our economy.
It should be interesting to see what, if anything, comes from this experiment. I hope it works with zero impact on ocean ecosystems! But... I have my doubts.