5 of 8
BACKNEXT
Ocean seeding
Ocean seeding
The ocean currently acts as a huge sponge for carbon dioxide, absorbing some 60 billion tons a year.

But all that carbon is making the oceans more acidic and reducing the amount carbon-sucking plankton.

How it works: This idea involves seeding the oceans with iron or other elements to stimulate plankton growth. Already, dust storms off the continents that blow iron into water are known to cause plankton blooms, seen here.

The iron is available as a byproduct of steel making, and could be dispersed for little more than shipping costs, said Dan Whaley, chief executive of Climos, a company working on the idea.

Why it might not work: Concerns remain over how additional plankton will impact the oceans. A main concern is what happens when the plankton dies? Some say it will safely sink down to the ocean floor. Others fear it will decompose near the surface, releasing its carbon into the atmosphere.

Beyond the idea: Climos is one of the few actual companies operating in the geoengineering space - most of the work is done by university professors or other researchers.

Climos' funding comes in the form of grants, but it's conceivable that some firms could make a handsome profit if any of these ideas pan out. Geoengineering schemes may qualify as carbon offset projects, where companies that emit carbon pay others to take it out of the atmosphere. Carbon offset projects may become mandatory under greenhouse gas laws.

But investors beware: Most of these ideas are far from reality.

NEXT: White deserts

Last updated December 02 2009: 10:52 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
50 years of the Ford Mustang Take a drive down memory lane with our favorite photos of the car through the years. More
Cool cars from the New York Auto Show These are some of the most interesting new models and concept vehicles from the Big Apple's car show. More
8 CEOs who took a pay cut in 2013 Median CEO pay inched up 9% in 2013 to $13.9 million. But not everyone got a bump last year. Here are eight CEOs who missed out. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.