Plankton may hold the key to solving global warming—or so say Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are investing heavily in the idea. Scientists will dump several tons of plankton-producing iron into the ocean to see if the microscopic organisms will, as they expect, suck CO2 from the atmosphere and carry it to the ocean floor.
Plankton has multimillion-dollar potential in the budding emissions-trading industry. Skeptics say that the science is not well established, and that the increase in plankton may come with its own environmental hazards. But “I’m willing to consider it,” says one doubtful oceanographer, “when I consider the consequences of doing nothing.”