Presentation on theme: "Ocean Fertilization – Legal Issues and Institutional responses"— Presentation transcript:
1 Ocean Fertilization – Legal Issues and Institutional responses Bettina BoschenPhD CandidateUtrecht Center for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law and the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS)Good afternoon, name & PhD here at Utrecht Center for Oceans, Water and Sustainability Law and the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the SeaTo talk about a particularly topical issue concerning climate change and the oceans – and this presentation addresses the legal issues and institutional responses related to a ocean based activity, namely ocean fertilization.
2 Overview About Ocean Fertilization From scientific experiments to geo-engineering strategyInternational law and Ocean FertilizationLaw of the SeaInternational Environmental Legal PrinciplesRelevant treaty regimesInstitutional ResponsesFinding a suitable forum1972 London Convention and its 1996 Protocol on the Prevention of Marine PollutionAssessment / Conclusions
3 About Ocean Fertilization Scientific research experiments on basis of suggestion that the introduction of certain nutrients, or iron, will stimulate growth of planktonOcean iron enrichment experiments result in algal bloomsRole of photsynthesisers in the carbon cycle and the natural function of oceans as a carbon sinkAssuming that algal blooms can be controlled, ocean fertilization as a geo-engineering (CDR) strategy
4 Ocean fertilization as a geo-engineering strategy Definition geo-engineering:“the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change” (2009 Royal Society Report)Methods:Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)Solar Radiation Management (SRM)Marine Geo-engineering:E.g. Ocean Fertilization (CDR)E.g. ‘Cloud Whitening’ or ‘Water Brightening’ (SRM)
5 Ocean Fertilization Experiments in the High Seas 12 small scale research experiments between 1993 – 20052006 Planktos Corp. plans to conduct OF near Galapagos islands2007 Ocean Nourishment proposal to conduct OF in Sulu sear / Philipines2009 LOHAFEX experiment (Germany/India)2012 Canada / Haida ocean fertilization incidentBACKGROUND 212 legitimate small scale research experiments between 1993 – 2005Attention media and private ventures suggesting ocean fertilization for commercial purposes using carbon credit system2007 US / Greenpeace table issue within London Convention/Protocol framework2007 IPCC 4th Assessment report indicates that Ocean Fertilization2007 – 2011 (?) statement on OF by various IGO’s2009 LOHAFEX experiment (Germany/India)2012 Canada / Haida ‘incident’ in North Pacific by HAIDA Corp. Canada / Russ George2013 Amendment London Protocol
6 Ocean Fertilization Experiments in the High Seas Source: Boyd et al. (2007) ‘ Mesoscale Iron Enrichment Experiments’ Science Vol. 315, p. 612,
7 International Legal Framework - The Law of the Sea 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – Constitution for the Oceans (LOSC)Jurisdictional and substantive framework for the OceansActivities taking place in maritime zones beyond national jurisdiction:Part VII “High Seas”, Article 87 freedom of scientific researchPart XII “Protection and preservation of the marine environment”Part XIII “Marine Scientific Research”LOSC refers to ‘competent organizations’ to regulate / develop more specific rules
8 International Legal Framework - International Environmental Legal Principles Obligation to prevent harmObligation to prevent pollutionApplication of the precautionary principleObligations to cooperate, exchange information and conduct EIAsLimits of these principlesAllow for broad interpretationNo specific regulatory framework
9 International Legal Framework – Relevant Treaty Regimes CBDCBD objective is the conservation of biodiversityJurisdictional scope includes coastal areas and activities taking place in the high seas.UNFCCC and Kyoto ProtocolClimate Change regime but doesn’t cover geo-engineeringCarbon credits for reduction emissions (at source) not through geo-engineering (except perhaps forestation)Antarctic Treaty System – 1991 Protocol on Environmental ProtectionOSPAR Convention
10 Institutional Responses – Which Forum? Scientific Technical ReportsUNESCO/IOC ad hoc Consultative Group on Ocean FertilizationCBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological AdviceSCOR & GESAMP (Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research and Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection)London Convention and Protocol Scientific GroupsUNEP World Conservation Monitoring CentreIPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
11 Institutional Responses – Which Forum? Policy / Political responses2007 London Convention/Protocol “Statement of Concern”2008 CBD COP Decision IX/162008 London Convention/Protocol “Resolution1”2010 CBD COP Decision X/292010 London Convention/Protocol “Resolution2”UNGA Annual Resolution on the Law of the Sea and Ocean Affairs
12 Legal Response – London Convention/Protocol Legal Responses2008 London Convention/Protocol “Resolution1”scope includes ocean fertilizationonly legitimate scientific research should be allowedcase-by case assessment using an assessment frameworkIf not then contrary to the aims of the Convention2010 London Convention/Protocol “Resolution2”Adoption of Assessment Framework for Scientific Research Involving Ocean Fertilization’2013 London Protocol amendment
13 Legal Response – London Convention/Protocol 2013 London Protocol amendmentNew Art 6b “Contracting Parties shall not allow the placement of matter into the sea [ … ] for marine geo-engineering activities listed in Annex 4, unless the listing provides that the activity or the sub-category of an activity may be authorized under a permit”New Annex 4 to the ProtocolOcean fertilization as defined in the Annex may only be considered for a permit if it is assessed as constituting legitimate scientific research taking into account any specific placement assessment framework.New Annex 5 to the ProtocolAssessment Framework
14 ConclusionsDecentralized nature of current international legal and institutional framework presents significant challenge for the regulation of geo-engineering activities.Rapid response through London Convention/Protocol to address ocean fertilization but ad hoc approach to regulation of geo-engineering.Missing policy discussion on the role of geo-engineering methods and the mitigation of the effects of anthropogenic climate change.Suggestion to include the geo-engineering discussion within the UNFCCC framework as the appropriate forum to develop general principles governing geo-engineering.