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Ocean iron fertilization and international law
Freestone, D.; Rayfuse, R. (2008). Ocean iron fertilization and international law. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 364: 227-233. dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps07543
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Climatic changes; Commercialization; Fertilizers; International law; Iron; Law of the sea; Marine environment; Ocean dumping; Ocean policy; Oceans; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Freestone, D.
  • Rayfuse, R.

Abstract
    Intentional ocean fertilization and the commercial sale of associated carbon offsets raise a number of issues in international law. On the one hand, states are obliged to adopt adaptation and mitigation measures to prevent dangerous climate change. On the other hand, international law obliges states to protect and preserve the marine environment and to act in a precautionary manner in the face of scientific uncertainty. In this article, we examine the application of the international Law of the Sea to ocean fertilization, with particular reference to the law's dumping regime, which prohibits the dumping of wastes or other materials from vessels into the ocean. We then examine the application of the international legal regime on climate change to ocean fertilization and assess the international legal basis for the sale of carbon offsets or carbon credits associated with ocean fertilization. We conclude that ocean fertilization is governed by the dumping regime and that its commercialization is inconsistent with international law unless and until independent, internationally peer-reviewed scientific research and assessment demonstrates that it is effective and that its benefits outweigh the risks to the marine environment.

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