Federal Government implements extended requirements of the London Protocol for the protection of the seas
In German territory, ocean fertilisation is only allowed for research purposes subject to strict conditions. This also applies to Germany's exclusive economic zone and to German ships. Today, the Federal Cabinet adopted a law put forward by the Federal Environment Minister, ratifying amendments to the London Protocol. The Cabinet also adopted a transposition law and a draft ordinance limiting marine geoengineering. Geoengineering, also known as climate engineering, is a term for large-scale technical interventions intended to artificially reduce or maintain lower levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Activities that, for example, stimulate algal growth in the ocean, are called ocean fertilisation.
Conducting research on this topic now requires an authorisation procedure, which will include stringent prerequisites and conditions. It must be possible to rule out adverse environmental impacts. Commercial use of ocean fertilisation is prohibited, as established by the London Protocol on the Prevention of Marine Pollution; this grew out of a German initiative. The protocol also contains a framework provision to cover and strictly regulate other marine geoengineering activities that could potentially have adverse impacts on the marine environment. To date, only two parties to the London Protocol have ratified the amendments. Germany's ratification and transposition into law will send a message internationally: Germany still does not support ocean fertilisation for commercial purposes and will only allow research activity in this area that meets strict requirements:
Since 2008, various moratoriums have been in effect for ocean fertilisation promoting marine plant growth in order to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Due to an incident off the coast of Canada, the contracting parties of the London Protocol took a decision in 2013 establishing internationally binding rules on ocean fertilisation, which can be extended to other types of marine geoengineering if need be.