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Carbon Sequestration: Algae

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his Department's policy is on the use of artificial measures to create algae bloom for the purposes of carbon capture; and if he will make a statement. (281113)

I have been asked to reply.

While the priorities for tackling climate change should continue to be overwhelmingly focussed on greenhouse gas emission reductions, and adaptation to unavoidable climate change, we should not rule out any climate change mitigation technologies at an early stage.

Ocean fertilisation involves adding nutrients, usually iron, nitrogen or phosphorus compounds, to nutrient depleted areas of the open ocean, with the aim of increasing phytoplankton production to absorb additional amounts of carbon dioxide and storing a proportion of the additional carbon production below the surface layers of the ocean when the plankton dies. Further research into both the effectiveness of this practice as a carbon sequestration measure and the impact that this practice may have on the marine environment would be required before this technique is considered for use as a climate change mitigation technology.

Any research into ocean fertilisation should follow the precautionary approach and comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the London Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter.