Grant Wilson To Deliver Online Lecture On Geoengineering International Law 18 September

This is the pre-event announcement for an online lecture by Grant Wilson, GCRI’s Deputy Director. The lecture is based on a draft paper of the same title.

Here is the full talk info:

Murky Waters: Ambiguous International Law for Ocean Fertilization and Other Geoengineering
Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 17:00 GMT (10:00 Los Angeles, 13:00 New York, 18:00 London)
To be held online via Skype. RSVP required by email to Seth Baum (seth [at] Space is limited.


In July 2012, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) dumped about 100 tons of iron sulfate into the Pacific Ocean some 200 nautical miles west of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, Canada. While nominally for restoring depleted salmon stocks, HSRC’s ocean fertilization also served as a geoengineering experiment. This talk first looks at ocean fertilization in the context of global catastrophic risk (GCR)—both as a method to mitigate potentially catastrophic climate change and as a major risk itself with unknown environmental effects. The talk then analyzes the HSRC’s ocean fertilization activities under the London Convention and London Protocol, which regulate dumping at sea, concluding that Canada was probably (but not certainly) required to enact and enforce laws to restrict ocean fertilization. Whether Canada met this burden requires more facts than are publicly available, although Canada’s monitoring of geoengineering and enforcement of relevant laws was clearly suboptimal. The talk then discusses some of the GCR themes relating to the HSRC’s ocean fertilization, such as the importance of monitoring and reporting activities by rogue actors and lessons learned for governing other types of geoengineering, such as aerosol injection. Finally, in light of the ambiguities of the London Convention and London Protocol as they apply to ocean fertilization and other marine threats with unknown effects (such as chemical dispersants), and considering the need to regulate geoengineering more broadly, this paper makes recommendations on how the international community can continue to develop geoengineering governance.

This post was written by
Seth Baum is Executive Director of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute.
Comments are closed.