Could urea be a savior when it comes to reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide? By now we all know about injecting urea into diesel engine exhaust to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. An Australian company has now received permission from the government of the Philippines to dump urea into the Sulu Sea of that country's coast.
However, this isn't just a scheme to dump waste offshore. This is actually being done in an attempt to mitigate global warming. The idea is pour the urea into the water to promote plankton growth, because plankton absorb a lot of atmospheric carbon dioxide as they grow. In theory this should be a good thing. In practice, however, little is understood about the possible side-effects of the plankton growth. But of course those sorts of side-effects never happen in the real world. Do they? This seems like a prime candidate for the law of unintended consequences.

More on plankton:
[Source: Wired]


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