Canada Politics

Canada wins Dodo award due to west coast geo-engineering experiment

Canada Politics

It might not be as prestigious as Stephen Harper's 'World Statesmen of the Year' award, but it is a recognition, of sorts.

Canada, along with the U.K., is being awarded the annual Dodo award at a UN conference on biodiversity — currently taking place in India — by the Convention on Biological Diversity Alliance, an international network of environmental activists and civil society organizations.

Hindu Business Line explains why Canada received the award:

"The 'Dodo Awards', are conferred on those governments, who have failed to evolve, and whose actions at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are contributing to, rather than preventing, biodiversity loss

'Canada is the clear leader, for breaching the moratorium on ocean fertilisation and geo-engineering adopted by the CBD in 2008 and 2010,' said Silvia Ribero of the ETC Group.

Canada was also selected for its strong stance on biofuels. The country insisted that the CBD is not the place to discuss food security, and so the impacts of biofuel expansion on food should not be considered."

Ribero's comment is in reference to recent media reports that say the world's largest ever geo-engineering experiment was conducted on the west coast of B.C. and contravened two UN conventions.

The UK's Guardian newspaper suggests the group — consisting of American businessman Russ George and the Haida Salmon Restoration Corp's John Disney — dumped 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean, in July, as a means to create plankton to absorb carbon dioxide in the hopes to "create lucrative carbon credits."

The dump caused a 10,000 square kilometre bloom of phytoplankton — microscopic plant-like organisms at the base of the marine food web that remove carbon from oceans — which can actually be seen from space.

Disney spoke to CBC Radio's As It Happens on Tuesday, and said the federal government knew what was happening.

"All I am saying is everyone from the [Canada] Revenue Agency down to the National Research Council, and [the Department of Fisheries and Oceans] and Environment Canada, all these people, they have all known about this," he said.

Disney also disputes the Guardian's characterization of the experiment. He told CBC they dumped a ground dirt-like substance with only traces of iron into the ocean in order raise oceanic nutrient levels to revive salmon populations.

According to the Toronto Star, Environment Canada is investigating Disney's claims.

"If this [experiment] happened, it would be in violation of Canada's Environment Protection Act," environment minister Peter Kent said.

Regardless, the dump has put the Canadian government smack dab in the middle of an international environmental controversy and has resulted in us receiving a "Dodo."

Keep in mind that this isn't Canada's first Dodo award.

According to a CBC News report from 2010, Canada won the first ever iteration of the award two years ago because of the Harper government's record on resource "access and benefit sharing" with its indigenous populations.

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